Baker Mayfield is still a member of the Cleveland Browns. The main reason for that is no NFL team appears to be willing to take on his over-18-million-dollar contract.
That includes even the Cleveland Browns, who seem reluctant to eat any of Baker’s contract in a trade. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as though their hard-nosed stance is doing them any favors in trade talks.
According to a report on Sportscenter from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler earlier this morning, it appears as though the most any team is willing to take on is “$5 or $6 million” of Baker’s contract. Why so low? It’s because every trade suitor feels like they have all the leverage against the Browns at the moment.
Here’s how Fowler put it (via BleacherReport):
“Very slow, but here are two things that could sort of speed this up. If the Browns would just agree to paying most of his $18.8 million in guaranteed money this year. Right now, the teams I’ve talked to believe the Browns would maybe pay half of that, or something around there, which is progress that the Browns are at least willing to be flexible here. 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 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.
“I’m also told there is some guarantees structure that the Browns could get some salary-cap relief if Baker were to say, ‘Hey, I’ll lessen those guarantees. You know, I can still make the money back on a new deal with a new team.’ Why would he do that though, right? He’s got $19 million that’s on the books, guaranteed. So, he’s probably not going to be flexible, though the Browns would love that. Probably not going to happen. That’s why this is at a standstill. Look for mandatory minicamp though in mid-June to maybe speed this up because it’s sort of an artificial deadline. He doesn’t want to show up, but it is mandatory.”
Fowler states that the Browns appear to be loosening their stance, as the belief around the league is they would be willing to pay nearly half of Mayfield’s contract (roughly $9-million). However, that still doesn’t appear to be enough to satisfy the likes of Carolina, Detroit or Seattle.
As a result, we continue to play the waiting game. It’ll be interesting to see who eventually bites first: The Browns or one of the NFL’s quarterback-needy teams?