Baker Mayfield, Browns both want a divorce but these obstacles remain

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A new week begins in the 2022 NFL off-season and Baker Mayfield remains owned by the Cleveland Browns.

And that’s both surprising and embarrassing because the Browns don’t want Mayfield. After all, they now have Deshaun Watson.

And Mayfield doesn’t want the Browns. After all, he would like to start testing himself somewhere else.

Both sides have been providing the media with petty facts and opinions about each other for some time now. So this is a bad divorce in all respects except for the official court documents.

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Cleveland Browns' Baker Mayfield warms up before an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday Dec 25, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis.

Cleveland Browns’ Baker Mayfield warms up before an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday Dec 25, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis.
(AP Photo / Aaron Gash)

Yet Baker Mayfield is still a Cleveland Brown.

How could this happen?

Let’s examine:

The Browns want to trade Mayfield but until last week, according to a league source, they held out on the “asking price”. So the Browns don’t want their ex no. 1 general selection in their team more but they want to get some value to trade it because they believe it would be valuable someone.

This is tough. Because basically the Browns have so far refused to drop significantly from the asking price for Mayfield even though every other team in the league knows Mayfield can’t be on the Browns in 2022 and that, barring a trade, the Browns should cut Mayfield.

“The Browns acted like they had leverage,” the source who declined to specify the asking price from Cleveland told OutKick, “and right now they really don’t. Maybe along the way if someone gets injured and a team has a big void, but not now. “

The Browns also made it clear, according to the source, that they are in no way keen to pay a portion of Mayfield’s fully guaranteed $ 18.8 million salary in order to make a trade more palatable.

So any team exploring a Mayfield exchange, until recently anyway, was told they had to take on his salary, something no team so far is willing to do.

And why weren’t the teams willing to do it?

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield trains before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, November 28, 2021, in Baltimore.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield trains before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, November 28, 2021, in Baltimore.
(Photo AP / Gail Burton)

Because, once again, the Browns need to get rid of Mayfield. And if no one trades for him, they will have to cut him, at which point the full amount of that $ 18.8 million of guaranteed money remains on Cleveland’s books in the form of dead money while the team signing Mayfield could negotiate a new contract, probably on a much, much lower salary.

So, from Cleveland’s point of view, we now begin to understand why no one rushed to trade with Mayfield.

Then there is the market perspective:

The league has been a week since the draft and the teams are participating in their off-season conditioning and minicamps programs before hitting their mandatory minicamps in June. And most teams now have a quarterback situation that they can at least live with.

Even teams like the Seattle Seahawks, whose starting quarterback appears to be Drew Lock, have spoken as if they weren’t interested in moving to Mayfield.

“We are always competing,” manager Pete Carroll told Sports Radio 93.3 KJR-FM in Seattle last week of a generic quarterback and not naming Mayfield for not tampering with a Browns player.

“I’m not saying anything you didn’t think I should say, but luckily that’s always been the way we operated and it fits again. So we’re looking. I don’t see us trading for anyone. I don’t see that happening.”

Yes, this can change. It can change today.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield pitches during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, December 12. 12, 2021, in Cleveland.
(Photo AP / Ron Schwane)

But as the situation is expected to change on several fronts, this isn’t something that seems like an easy fix.

There is, among other things, the question of Mayfield himself. He is open to going wherever he may start or wherever he may compete to start, from a source that is familiar with his thinking of him.

But it’s unclear if he’d be willing to back up somewhere and simply rehabilitate his career in much the same way former high pick Mitchell Trubisky did last year, going from Chicago to Buffalo as a backup. by Josh Allen.

Such a move would require Mayfield to subjugate his ego. And it almost certainly should happen with a team that has an undisputed starting quarterback situation where a bad week or even a bad month won’t lead to calling Mayfield to play.

So there are a lot of moving parts and some obstacles to remove.

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And Baker Mayfield will stay with the Browns until the obstacles are gone.