The bridge between Browns and Baker Mayfield has been obliterated. Thursday’s report from ESPN.com’s Jake Trotter shows just how bad things have gotten. Even though the Browns need Mayfield due to a long suspension from Deshaun Watson, Mayfield seems all against it.
So what happens next? The Browns retain their 2022 rights. Mayfield holds a ticket for $18.8 million in guaranteed salary. The Browns have nothing to lose by waiting. Mayfield has nothing to gain by delaying the inevitable.
Here is a simple solution. That’s the same as the Browns and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. reached in November. Mayfield cut his guaranteed salary and the Browns let him go.
It’s unclear what it would take to get a deal done, whether Mayfield would be willing to cut his salary – and whether the Browns would be willing to release him in exchange for less of a hold.
But it is worth exploring. Mayfield could make a difference with another team this year. If he doesn’t, he will still be able to set himself up for a solid salary in 2023.
It may be too late for the Browns and Mayfield to agree on anything. The sooner they complete a deal like this, the sooner Mayfield could find a new landing spot, with more than enough time to prepare for a great season in 2022.