The Cleveland Browns have received some interest in Baker Mayfield, but money continues to be an issue. If they want to trade Mayfield, the Browns are going to have to eat a significant portion of his salary. We now have an idea of how much.
Mayfield is owed a fully guaranteed $18.8 million in 2022. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, teams that have expressed interest in Mayfield are only willing to pay around $5 million of that salary. They want the Browns to pick up the rest.
“Right now, the teams I’ve talked to believe the Browns would maybe pay half of (the $18.8 million), or something around there, which is progress that the Browns are at least willing to be flexible here,” Fowler said Sunday, as transcribed by Bleacher Report’s Tim Daniels. “But, teams like the Panthers or some others who have at least looked into (it) would need a lot of that money covered. They probably don’t want to pay Baker more than $5 (million) or $6 million at this point because they know they have all of the leverage against the Browns, who have their quarterback situation all worked out.”
Fowler noted that there are ways the Browns could adjust Mayfield’s contract to get some salary-cap relief, but Mayfield has no reason to do them a favor. The former first overall pick has made it clear that he did not like the way the Browns handled their pursuit of Deshaun Watson. There is no reason to think he would cooperate.
The Browns continue to have no leverage. The Carolina Panthers are said to be interested in Mayfield and one other veteran quarterback, but there is no way they are going to pay Mayfield anything close to $18.8 million. Cleveland essentially has to buy a draft pick. Otherwise, they will just have to release Mayfield and pay him his full salary, anyway.