Cleveland Browns take measured approach with Baker Mayfield trade

While the Cleveland Browns have always had the ability to surprise their fan base, it’s pretty safe to say quarterback Baker Mayfield played his last game with the franchise.

That may have been the case even before the Browns made a major deal with the Houston Texans for quarterback Deshaun Watson, but with Watson on board and quarterback Jacoby Brissett reportedly named as a replacement, Cleveland no longer requires Mayfield’s services.

The only question now is who will be Mayfield’s next team and how will they get there?

After Watson picked the Browns, it appeared there might be a decent trade market for Mayfield, but then the Indianapolis Colts traded for Matt Ryan, the New Orleans Saints re-signed Jameis Winston , the Atlanta Falcons signed free agent Marcus Mariota and Carolina. The Panthers have reportedly decided another year of Cam Newton and Sam Darnold is the way to go.

That doesn’t leave much for general manager Andrew Berry to work with Mayfield. At the moment, the Seattle Seahawks seem like the best option as they would have “bounced on the idea of ​​trading for Mayfield, but they don’t feel any urgency,” according to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline.

Pauline also reported that there is a belief that the Browns have no leverage if they find a team willing to take Mayfield off their hands:

People believe Cleveland painted themselves into a corner with Mayfield. Franchising has no leverage effect in commercial relations. The Browns need to get rid of Mayfield before the season, and there’s no reason for teams to overpay for his services.

It’s not just about the compensation required for Mayfield’s acquisition, but also about the portion of his guaranteed contract that the Browns will be willing to eat in any trade. When the Browns picked Mayfield’s fifth-year option, it came with a guaranteed payout of just under $19 million for the upcoming season.

I’m told any team that trades for Mayfield will want the Browns to absorb some of that amount. And while Cleveland’s front office is working with the Mayfield team to ship him where he wants, it’s the franchise that’s willing to accept the bulk of his contract that could ultimately end up with the former No. 1 pick.

Mayfield, for his part, is busy. He is currently in Texas working with Patrick Mahomes quarterback coach Jeff Christensen to improve his throwing mechanics and accuracy.

The idea that the Seahawks are in no rush to get a deal done could also apply to the Browns.

If reports are to be believed that the entire NFL has no interest in Mayfield, his trade value can’t really drop much over the next few months. Berry can bind his time and see if the Panthers come to their senses, maybe the Seahawks feel a sense of urgency after seeing Drew Lock in person, or an unfortunate injury hits another team’s quarterback and that team is suddenly more open to the idea of ​​acquiring Mayfield.

However, the latter scenario doesn’t really interest the Browns, as they would prefer to move Mayfield under less serious circumstances, according to cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot.

Cabot also reports that Berry is not asking teams for a first-round selection in exchange for Mayfield, despite reports to the contrary, and that the Browns have no interest in paying any part of Mayfield’s salary for the upcoming season as part of the deal. of an exchange. .

While it would be nice for everyone involved if the Browns and Mayfield officially part ways at this point, it looks like all parties will just have to be a little more patient.

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