Remember when Baker Mayfield was the most exciting young quarterback in the NFL? Unfortunately, now it seems nobody wants the Cleveland star. The Browns cast him aside after signing controversial former Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson. But several reasons leave Mayfield in the wilderness.
Nobody wants him and it’s difficult to see where his future lies. Let’s look at 20 reasons why no NFL teams appear to want Mayfield. Check out the list below via Sportsnaut.
20. Better Options
First off, most teams clearly think there are better options out there. Later we’ll discuss the financial reasons why he’s unable to find a new franchise. But when it comes to sheer talent, many scouts believe there are better options. That’s why even the quarterback-starved Panthers are reluctant to jump on board.
All things considered, Mayfield brings a lot of risks. He’s very expensive with serious questions about his ceiling. That’s why the Colts preferred Matt Ryan. Meanwhile, the Saints opted to stick with Jameis Winston for now. Mayfield remains without a team willing to trust him (via The Guardian).
Statistically, Mayfield flatters to deceive. He was 16th in expected points added per dropback in 2021. This reflects his status as a middle-of-the-pack quarterback. It’s wrong to say that he’s a terrible player because that’s not true yet he’s not a brilliant one either (via USA Today).
Meanwhile, he’s unreliable in crunch time. Mayfield rarely leads his team to comeback wins when there are only a few minutes left in a game. For all of his attitude and sass, Mayfield isn’t a great leader. That’s why many teams don’t want to take a gamble on him as of today.
In theory, this offseason is the best time for Mayfield to be moved. That’s because few are high on the quarterbacks in the 2022 draft. Only Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder appears capable of being a regular NFL starter. Next year’s 2023 draft appears to have a much stronger selection of passers.
That’s why a lot of teams may take a veteran instead of pouring millions into a deal for Mayfield. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Andy Dalton will have suitors. They’re not the most glamorous additions but they’ll work as a short-term stop-gap. Then teams can reset in 2023 (via Bleacher Report).
For a long time, Cleveland had a reputation as one of the worst-run teams in the NFL. They infamously won a single game from 2017 to 2018. Mayfield came into the team and appeared to be their savior. But it doesn’t appear as though he’ll be there for much longer.
However, there’s a chance that Cleveland is regressing into the dark days. Signing Deshaun Watson was an unpopular move because of his legal issues (via Cleveland.com). They’ve also handled Mayfield’s situation very badly. He can’t trust them to do right by him.
Yes, it appears as though nobody wants Mayfield. But it’s all about who blinks first. Somebody will be idiotic enough to drop $18 million. Either that or Cleveland will take the hit and trade him. This is the NFL and stupid things happen all of the time.
At the time of writing, the Seahawks and the Panthers lacked a bonafide starter. It remains to be seen if either of them attempts to swoop for his services. The Detroit Lions may also retain an interest in him. However, only time will tell if they make that call (via Sporting News).
One of the biggest issues with Mayfield is that he hasn’t proven much. The quarterback has experienced a single postseason run. Yes, that brought a lot of joy to the Cleveland fanbase. However, they fell disappointingly short in 2021 as the Bengals progressed.
Mayfield doesn’t bring the same confidence as Joe Burrow or Justin Herbert. That’s why many teams are skeptical about trading for an unproven quarterback. His price tag is too high for them to make a deal. Unfortunately, Mayfield’s track record counts against him (via Sports Illustrated).
Some people believe that Mayfield’s personality is also a problem. Stephen A. Smith went on a wild rant about the QB. The ESPN presenter said that Mayfield had more Progressive commercials than wins. It’s a typically colorful statement but there’s a grain of truth to it.
There’s an argument that Mayfield cares more about his persona than his team. This may be harsh but quarterbacks have a crucial influence on the team. That’s why they must maintain a good relationship with the other players (via Brobible).
One of Mayfield’s biggest problems is that he missed the boat. The NFL quarterback carousel began before the Browns swooped for Watson. This leaves Mayfield in an awkward situation because there aren’t many destinations for him (via CBS Sports).
Many people believe that the Seahawks remain the best option for Mayfield. However, the problem is that they’ve already traded Russell Wilson. They could have traded with Cleveland for Mayfield and some picks. But they chose to deal with Denver instead.
Mayfield’s sense of self-worth may harm his chances of a move. There’s no denying his confidence in his ability. He sees himself as a starter. The trouble is that most of the NFL disagree with this assessment. Or they don’t think he’s worth the risk.
He could indeed start for several teams but that dead-cap money is a problem. Nobody wants to inherit that. If that wasn’t an issue, then Mayfield would be a more attractive option. As it stands, there are only a couple of teams for Mayfield to deal with (via 247 Sports).
Another major issue is that the Browns say that they don’t want to trade Mayfield. This leaves him in limbo because there’s nothing for him to do. The situation is more complicated because of Watson’s legal situation. Meanwhile, they also added Jacoby Brissett.
Brissett replaced Case Keenum as the franchise’s clear QB2. Mayfield is a better option than Brissett so it will be interesting to see what happens if he stays. It’s unlikely that he will be happy to sit there twiddling his thumbs. There could be tension behind the scenes (via USA Today).
Most teams don’t see Mayfield as a long-term franchise quarterback. However, he’s too expensive to be a stop-gap solution too. This leaves him in a state of purgatory where nobody wants him. Instead, some teams are pursuing short-term rentals.
We mentioned Ryan Fitzpatrick already. He’s likely to continue his tour of all 32 teams in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Dolphins added Teddy Bridgewater to their supporting cast (via Sports Illustrated). A bunch of other signal-callers is on the move but Mayfield may sit tight.
Maybe everybody’s wrong and Mayfield will get moved tomorrow. In the end, the NFL offseason is like a game of risk. Nobody wants to blink first and make a trade that hangs over a franchise for decades. That’s especially true in a situation like Mayfield’s with so much guaranteed money.
Some teams may wait longer because they want to force the Browns into accepting their offer. On the other side, Cleveland is aware that some franchises like the Seahawks will get desperate. It also depends on the outcome of the draft (via The Athletic).
Mayfield struggled in the latter half of 2021 because of a shoulder injury. It remains to be seen how he has recovered. The problem is that most franchisees will be wary of approaching him before this. They won’t want to risk acquiring damaged goods.
According to a Browns spokesman, Mayfield made a full recovery. They also claimed that he will be able to make light passes in April. Time will tell whether or not he returns to full capacity. But it’s unlikely that another franchise wants to give him it (via Beacon-Journal).
Mayfield is one of the most frustrating figures in the NFL. When he’s on his game, everybody thinks he has turned a corner. Then he goes missing the following week or throws a bunch of interceptions. Overall, he’s consistently inconsistent (via Fansided).
In 2021, Mayfield held the No. 25 power ranking in the league. This wasn’t great because it was just ahead of Ravens’ rookie back-up Tyler Huntley. It also puts him on par with the likes of the Giants’ Daniel Jones. The latter is arguably the least inspiring quarterback in the league.
Another interesting point is that Cleveland doesn’t feel much pressure to trade Mayfield. This removes some of his bargaining power. They budgeted to keep him and the DeShaun Watson deal doesn’t change this. Most of Watson’s record contract comes into play in his second season.
Of course, it would be nice to free up $18 million. In an ideal world, they’ll move him on because it will be better for everybody. Nonetheless, Cleveland won’t do business unless it’s on their terms. That’s something that Mayfield may not appreciate when it comes about.
Watson’s contract is a tale of two figures. First, there’s the massive $230 million with a record amount of guaranteed money. Then, there are the one million dollars he’ll bring home in 2022. That’s because nobody knows how much he will play in the coming year (via Sky Sports).
There remains a chance that the NFL will suspend Watson because of his alleged actions. A second grand jury considered if they should bring charges against him but decided not to. Yet he still has a host of civil suits to deal with. Cleveland may not want to lose Mayfield after all.
In April 2021, the Browns exercised Mayfield’s fifth-year option. This guarantees him a cool $18 million. The Browns can’t release him because they’ll still have the salary cap issue to deal with. It’s pointless because they don’t gain anything from it (via SBNation).
This leaves Mayfield between a rock and a hard place. Most teams don’t want to dedicate that amount of money to a potential one-year rental. His injury record isn’t exactly inspiring either. We’ve seen Indy hand Philip Rivers the same amount for a season but he had a consistent NFL record to fall back on.
The Browns want a lot for Mayfield. They’re asking for a first-round pick because they believe he can still be a franchise quarterback. Unfortunately, the rest of the league is laughing at them. This isn’t going to help Mayfield’s situation because he most likely isn’t worth that to most teams.
When the cap money comes into play the situation becomes even messier. According to Sports Illustrated, the 49ers want two second-round picks for Jimmy Garoppolo. This is a difficult market and franchises don’t want others to hold them to ransom.
Andrew Berry wants a first-round pick in exchange for Mayfield. But the Cleveland GM is in for a rude awakening because franchises reportedly want the Browns to give them a pick instead. It’s a ludicrous scenario but a serious one for Cleveland to consider.
Allegedly one team – possibly Seattle – requested a second-round pick to take on Mayfield’s contract. It’s a wild set of circumstances because it’s very audacious. So far the Browns have refused to take such requests seriously. But who knows what will happen (via Marca).
The simple reason why most teams don’t want Mayfield now is that he’s a free agent in 12 months. Why pay $18 million for an inconsistent, injured player? This doesn’t mean that Mayfield’s NFL race is over. He’ll easily find another team in a season.
The Bucs have an eye on him because Tom Brady’s long-term future is unclear (via The Spun). Meanwhile, other franchises like the Giants will have openings. Mayfield will find more options if he’s patient. Unfortunately, NFL careers are short but this may be a lost season for the former Heisman winner.