Browns Baker Mayfield could be traded even if Deshaun Watson not acquired
The Cleveland Browns were scheduled to meet with Deshaun Watson Tuesday in Houston to discuss the possibility of acquiring the start quarterback. While his legal matters are now focused on civil cases, multiple teams are reportedly interested in acquiring him. While the allegations may be deal breakers for some fans, it seems NFL teams are far more lenient.
The Browns had a similar meeting with Baker Mayfield’s agents at the NFL combine. During that time, they insisted that they would be moving forward with him as their starting quarterback if a clear upgrade was not obtained.
If Cleveland acquires Watson, Mayfield will almost certainly be traded. Our own Jeff Risdon has reported that the current Browns quarterback would not be dealt to Houston:
The Texans want Baker about as much as I want baldness. And that's a major issue in making any deal happen
— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) March 15, 2022
Instead, Mayfield would be moved to another team with teams currently in the Watson sweepstakes possibly involved including Carolina, New Orleans and Seattle.
Mary Kay Cabot, who had the combine report noted above, now believes that Mayfield could be dealt even if Cleveland doesn’t acquire Watson:
Baker Mayfield won’t be headed back home to Texas as part of the trade offer for Deshaun Watson, but he could be dealt even if the trade doesn’t happen.
It is clear that the Browns are looking to upgrade to Watson and it is happening in a very public manner. Whether Mayfield requests a trade or Cleveland management realizes they need to trade him now, it may be hard to come back from their flirtation with Watson.
That would call into question their decision to pursue the Texans quarterback without assurances of being able to acquire him. If Watson is dealt elsewhere and Mayfield has to be traded away, the Browns will be left with Case Keenum and Nick Mullens at quarterback or desperate to acquire another one in trade, free agency or the NFL draft.
It is possible that Andrew Berry and company expect Mayfield to come back to the team and lead them to the playoffs in 2022 but that now seems the least likely outcome.
No Watson, no Mayfield with the rest of the roster capable of winning now could be the worst-case scenario for Cleveland. If they don’t acquire Watson, they may have brought that worst-case upon themselves with their pursuit of a quarterback with 22 allegations of sexual impropriety and that is facing a likely suspension.