NFL Trade Rumors: Latest on Panthers, Seahawks' Stance on Browns' Baker Mayfield

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 17, 2022

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield watches during warm-ups before an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
AP Photo/David Richard

The Cleveland Browns are reportedly waiting for a team to get "desperate" at the quarterback position as they look to trade Baker Mayfield.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler said Sunday that the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks remain the two most talked-about teams, but neither franchise is sold on Mayfield:

"The Browns believe this will heat up closer to draft time. They are prepared to hold on to him if they have to, thinking a team could get desperate if they don't get the right draft pick they want at quarterback or they get an injury at the position. The Carolina Panthers have been implicated here. I believe, after asking around, that they're torn in that building, that not everybody there believes Mayfield is the guy for Carolina long-term, but he might just end up being the best option of those available. Seattle still looms here; they kind of, sort of moved on by re-signing Geno Smith. They've got Drew Lock, they're looking for a developmental quarterback in the draft. But if the price is low or if Mayfield is released outright, then maybe they get involved."

The Browns have been actively shopping Mayfield over the past month since acquiring Deshaun Watson but have found a tepid market. Mayfield is set to play the 2022 season on the fifth-year option of his contract, which will pay him $18.9 million.

While that's a perfectly average salary for a starting quarterback, Mayfield is coming off a miserable 2021 campaign that called into question his ability to be a franchise face. He threw for 3,010 yards and 17 touchdowns against 13 interceptions while dealing with a lingering shoulder injury.

The situation between Mayfield and the Browns has turned seemingly toxic, which eliminates what little leverage the team had left. Mayfield almost certainly has no plans of playing backup to Watson this season. He said he felt disrespected by the franchise's pursuit of Watson, which cost them multiple first-round picks and a controversial new fully guaranteed contract.

"I was told one thing and they completely did another," Mayfield said on the YNK podcast. 

Teams like the Panthers and Seahawks could view Mayfield as a fallback option, potentially offering up a third-day pick if the draft board doesn't break in their favor in terms of selecting a developmental quarterback. 

That said, the lack of strong offers coming in should be a sign to Mayfield that his star isn't shining particularly bright around the league at the moment.