Browns' Hypothetical Trade Packages for Baker Mayfield
The Browns made clear their intentions at the position when they acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans in March.
The problem for Cleveland and Mayfield is that not many open starting jobs exist across the NFL after the free-agent and trade carousel.
The Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers are the most likely landing spots for the 26-year-old, but all of those squads could land quarterbacks in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft.
The potential returns for Mayfield are far lower than what the Browns shelled out for Watson, and the final package may be frustrating internally because of where the quarterback market sits at the moment.
Deal with Seattle Seahawks
Potential Trade: Cleveland acquires Nos. 72 and 153 overall picks in 2022 NFL draft.
The Seattle Seahawks landed Drew Lock as part of the return package for Russell Wilson. The former Denver Broncos quarterback received plenty of opportunities to start in the Mile High City, but he did not live up to the test.
Denver was more than willing to move on from him to help land Wilson in an AFC West that became the deepest division for quarterbacks in the NFL this offseason.
Mayfield is objectively better than Lock, but even if a trade were to happen with Seattle, there is no guarantee he would start.
The Seahawks landed the No. 9 overall pick in the Wilson trade. They are in prime position to land one of the top QB prospects in the draft class. But Seattle could pivot its draft strategy to another position if it brings in Mayfield at a minimal cost.
The Oklahoma product is set to make $18 million in the 2022 season, per Spotrac, and the contract could hurt the Browns in trade negotiations.
Seattle might be willing to give up two mid-round selections and take on some of Mayfield's contract so that Cleveland can make a trade happen.
Trade with Atlanta
Potential Trade: Cleveland acquires Nos. 58 and 190 picks in 2022 NFL draft.
Atlanta's quarterback room is wide open.
Atlanta is in more of a rebuilding mode than Seattle since it has less talent spread across the offensive skill positions and Calvin Ridley is suspended.
Arthur Smith and his staff could use 2022 to prepare for the 2023 season. That may lead to the NFC South side bringing in a rookie quarterback with the No. 8 overall pick.
Atlanta is a perfect spot to develop a quarterback who could sit for a year and learn under Mayfield and Mariota.
The Falcons have nine selections in the upcoming draft, which could help Cleveland get a decent return for its unwanted quarterback. If Atlanta is interested in Mayfield, the Browns could ask for the team's additional picks in the second and sixth rounds.
A second-round pick should be the most valuable return the Browns should request in any negotiations surrounding Mayfield, and they might squeeze one out of Atlanta in the best-case scenario.
Look to Carolina for Trade
Potential Trade: Cleveland acquires No. 137 pick in 2022 NFL draft and a 2023 second-round pick.
Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule already made one trade for a young quarterback looking for a new home.
The Panthers' trade for Sam Darnold did not work out for the franchise last season, and that put it back in the top 10 of the NFL draft.
Carolina could attempt to acquire Mayfield to bridge the gap to a potential new quarterback in 2023, which is either selected with the No. 6 overall pick or in next year's draft.
The Panthers make sense as a potential destination for Mayfield because there is uncertainty at quarterback on their depth chart and it would move him out of the AFC.
The problem with Carolina is that it doesn't have a second- or a third-round draft pick this year. It would have to package a 2023 pick of that caliber with one of its Day 3 selections this year to give the Browns a half-decent return for Mayfield.