Baker Mayfield Won't Attend Voluntary Browns OTAs amid Trade Rumors

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 23, 2022

CINCINNATI, OHIO - NOVEMBER 07: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns jogs across the field in the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 07, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns star Baker Mayfield won't attend the team's organized team activities, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The move isn't unexpected after the veteran quarterback requested a trade in March with Cleveland pivoting to Deshaun Watson as its new starting quarterback.

Mayfield wants out, and the Browns have moved on from viewing him as the franchise quarterback. Despite the two sides probably being better off from going in separate directions, a trade has yet to materialize.

Mayfield's $18.9 million salary for the 2022 NFL season is one big reason why.

The Athletic's Jeff Howe reported last Friday the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks have both shown interest in the 2017 Heisman Trophy but balked at how much of his salary to take on.

"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," per Howe.

Howe added that "everyone remains stuck in a holding pattern."

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported on The Pat McAfee Show on May 4 that he doesn't "get the sense there'll be anything Baker until maybe June at the earliest." He explained how there isn't anything in the way of a deadline now to finalize a trade with the draft concluded.

Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow

"I don't get the sense that anything will happen with Baker Mayfield until June at the earliest" ~<a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RapSheet</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PMSLive?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PMSLive</a> <a href="https://t.co/8MPisZU33b">pic.twitter.com/8MPisZU33b</a>

Carolina, Seattle and any other team that might want Mayfield is incentivized to wait and see whether the Browns are content to pay out nearly $19 million for a backup quarterback who clearly doesn't want to be there.

Cleveland basically has the same incentive since that money is guaranteed. Cutting Mayfield will mean having to carry his entire salary in dead money, so that's only a course of last resort.

Missing OTAs isn't really a big deal for Mayfield, but there's a plausible scenario in which he's still on the Browns when training camp begins. As much as he wants out, working out for Cleveland this summer and getting back into game shape might benefit him in terms of enticing what suitors are out there to pull the trigger on a deal.