It is simply a matter of time before the Cleveland Browns part ways with Baker Mayfield. Having just given Deshaun Watson a ridiculous contract after trading away their future for the quarterback there is no chance that Baker opens the season with the Browns. Even if Watson is suspended Baker will likely be unwilling to come in and play for a number of games knowing he will be replaced regardless of his performance.
Having elevated a seemingly cursed franchise to relevance Baker has earned more than a backup role in Cleveland. He will be traded or signed by a team that gives him a chance to win the starting job.
This limits trade possibilities considerably when you look at the quarterback movement of the off-season and the limited number of teams that could reasonably give Baker a shot.
Mayfield is headed into the last year of his rookie contract and is owed $18-million, if the Browns trade Baker they will likely be responsible for a large portion of his contract. Any team that trades or signs Baker is getting a wildcard who could prove to be a one-year bridge or a long-term answer.
Mayfield’s career is hard to evaluate when you consider the injury last season as well as the impressive 11-game stretch he put together nearly two years ago. He has put enough on tape to think he could still be a franchise quarterback. Something all three of the teams who should be chasing Baker so badly need.