The Cleveland Browns reportedly have interest from the Seahawks and Panthers over Baker Mayfield, but they’re the biggest barrier to a deal.
Baker Mayfield is no longer the Browns starting quarterback. The question is whether he’ll be a starting quarterback somewhere else in 2022.
For that to happen, he’ll need to be traded. The problem is Cleveland hasn’t been able to reach an agreement with any suitors.
According to The Athletic, they have had negotiations with the Panthers and Seahawks. The problem is the Browns are being stubborn about how much of Mayfield’s guaranteed salary they are willing to eat.
Browns continue to be own worst enemy with Baker Mayfield trade
Jeff Howe’s latest notebook for The Athletic details why a trade to offload Mayfield hasn’t gotten done.
Basically, Mayfield is owed a minimum salary of $1.035 million. That leaves $17.823 million for the Browns to either absorb or unload in negotiations.
“The Panthers and Seahawks still haven’t ruled out acquiring Mayfield, but they’ll need the Browns to take on a much greater portion of his contract than they’ve offered so far,” Howe wrote. “It’s unclear how far apart the sides have been, but the Browns want their contractual intake to be commensurate with the asset they receive in return.”
Releasing Mayfield would mean accepting the full $18 million of his guaranteed contract while getting nothing in return. Carolina and Seattle know that, so they don’t have a lot of incentive to take on a significant chunk of that salary.
On the other hand, the Browns can play a game of chicken and act like they’re willing to hold on to Mayfield, leaving QB-needy teams to go into 2022 without an upgrade.
So how will this all play out? It’s too early in the offseason for anyone to be particularly desperate. That will come with time, testing the will of each team. In the end, it’s probably Cleveland who will budge first.