The Cleveland Browns are holding out for a hero offer for Baker Mayfield.
Bonnie Tyler was signing about the Cleveland Browns, as they are holding out for a hero trade offer that is never coming. Baker Mayfield is going to be a Browns player for 2022 at this rate, and they’ll be lucky to get a sixth or seventh-round pick as compensation when he leaves as a free agent. That third-round pick everyone keeps talking about the Browns getting if Mayfield leaves via free agency is dependent on how well Mayfield plays in 2022 and how much he signs for in 2023.
If he doesn’t play in 2022, his 2023 deal won’t be that great and that means the compensation the Browns get will be far below the expected third-round. The idea of the Browns getting out from all of Mayfield’s $18+ million contract this year was always going to be a near-impossibility.
Now, according to Jonathan M. Alexander of the Charlotte Observer (via Yahoo and Pro Football Talk) we now know just how little the league thinks of the Browns. The Carolina Panthers had a deal in place, more or less, for Mayfield. We don’t know the compensation going over from Carolina but a third to fourth-round pick seems like the smart money.
Except, the Panthers weren’t budging, and apparently, they weren’t willing to do the deal unless the Browns took on $13-$14 million of Mayfields’ contract. A number many, myself included, have said would need to be taken on if the Browns want to get a high-ish draft pick back for Mayfield.
It’s too late in the offseason to free up $18 million for most teams, and very few teams, regardless of talent, are willing to put themselves in salary cap hell this late in the game for one player. The Browns didn’t want to take on that much and called the Panthers bluff. The Panthers turned around and took quarterback Matt Corral 94th overall.
Dollars to donuts, that was the pick the Browns wanted. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Panthers took Corral there just to stick to the Browns for haggling.
The Cleveland Browns don’t have the market to be this stingy
There are maybe three teams still looking for a starter this year. At best. That means you only have a handful of teams who want Mayfield. So you really can’t go around trying to make demands of what you want when you don’t have the teams trying to compete for his services.
The Browns are going to have to eat $13-$14 million if they want a high draft pick. If not, they’ll have to settle for either trading him for next to nothing or risk losing him for next to nothing in free agency.
There’s also a chance the Browns are forced to cut him, after all, they’re not going to waste a roster spot on him when they need every position they can get. Their window to win is as small as ever, and the Browns can’t risk wasting this year by holding up a roster spot for Mayfield that could go to someone who may actually play.
This year is the Browns’ best chance to win a Super Bowl if they’re ever going to do it with this crop of players and front office guys. Dragging their feet on Mayfield, holding out for more than what you can get from him, and running the risk of creating even more drama this year by having him show up to camp would be a poor decision by the Browns.
This is allegedly what happened with the Browns and Odell Beckham. Despite numerous reports about Beckham wanting out almost the minute he arrived in Cleveland, and the Browns allegedly shopping him for months, no deal the Browns liked ever came up. The situation with Beckham became unsustainable and downright toxic and it arguably crippled their season.
So to see them making the same mistakes with Mayfield does not give me hope this will end well.