NFL Free Agency 2022: The Future of Baker Mayfield; Wednesday winners and losers
As Cabot summarizes: The Browns and Mayfield responded differently to questions about his non-throwing shoulder injury. There were indications that Mayfield was not so popular with her teammates, including what she described as frustration among some defensive players and other players’ response to a breakup with Odell Beckham.
But perhaps more importantly, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 never developed as a player.
The Browns have shown no apparent interest in extending Mayfield’s contract after he helped score 48 points in a playoff win over the Steelers last January, so it’s safe to say that this impending divorce doesn’t concern only his shoulder injury (which ultimately required off-season surgery) limited his output last season; it must also be about his talent and compatibility with Stefanski’s system.
Mayfield throws a nice, accurate ball when he sees play. But he must see it, and he lacks a lot of vision, especially in midfield. He holds the ball forever and leaves the pocket early. This leads to a lot of bags, which is an acceptable compromise if you’re Russell Wilson. But Mayfield, 26, is like a younger version of Wilson without the same athleticism or creativity. That’s on top of a limited mid-level starting quarterback who can be an asset if all goes well. If something goes wrong, like having to play through an injury, Mayfield doesn’t have the physical capacity or the treatment tools to fall back on.
Mayfield can still help a team; it almost certainly won’t be in Cleveland. The Browns certainly don’t regret securing their fifth-year option for 2022. Mayfield is an asset, and his trade value can’t fall short of Carson Wentz’s this year. (Can he?) The Seahawks make sense as a trade candidate; they have a need, after dealing Wilson to the Broncos, and I never believed for a second that Seattle coach Pete Carroll was looking to rebuild. Would a second-round pick secure a deal? The Colts, Panthers, Raiders and even the Falcons could also be in good shape, depending on how next week plays out.