The Cleveland Browns have all their eggs in Deshaun Watson’s basket. Baker Mayfield could make things very uncomfortable, if he chooses.
All Baker Mayfield has to do is show up.
The Browns have yet to trade their former No. 1 overall pick, in part because those same trade partners would prefer Cleveland pick up the majority of his remaining contract. The Browns don’t seem intent on doing that, so they’re playing the waiting game.
Thus far, Mayfield has been fine with that. It’s not even training camp season, after all. But the longer this saga goes, the more Cleveland is at risk of Mayfield’s angst. And frankly, he’d be right to be a little angry at this juncture.
Browns: Could Baker Mayfield speed up trade talks?
Could he? Of course, there’s always some potential. But it would seem the Browns have reached out to Mayfield’s camp about finding him the appropriate trade partner. And for now, Mayfield’s best option is to wait things out, rather than force Cleveland to deal him to, say, Carolina for a pile of garbage.
There’s also always the potential for Cleveland to cut Mayfield if they can’t find a trade partner or deal they deem acceptable. Were that to occur, Baker would then be able to choose his next home, rather than go wherever Andrew Berry prefers to send him.
Mayfield owes the Browns nothing — that’s an important thought to extinguish. He’s given Cleveland everything since being drafted No. 1 overall back in 2018. While the Browns think they can do better with Watson, there’s a chance he doesn’t even play this season as he deals with an ongoing civiil trial.
Cleveland’s backup plan isn’t even Mayfield. They signed Jacoby Brissett just in case Watson is suspended long-term.
Wherever Baker suits up next, the Browns owe him a debt of gratitude — not just for playing through injuries, but for avoiding the awkwardness that usually comes with this sort of unwarranted split.