After the Browns ended Baker Mayfield‘s four-year tenure as their starter by trading for Deshaun Watson, the former No. 1 overall pick figures to be an option for another team in need of a QB1. Mayfield has his eye on another AFC team.
Mayfield would prefer to be traded to the Colts, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports (on Twitter), and has informed the Browns of his ideal destination. One season remains on Mayfield’s contract, with the Browns having picked up his fully guaranteed fifth-year option — worth $18.9MM — last year. The Colts have shown interest in Mayfield, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets, but no notable discussions have occurred yet.
The Colts make sense as a Mayfield destination. They ditched Carson Wentz after one season and do not have a first-round pick, which the team sent to Philadelphia in the Wentz deal. Prior to Mayfield requesting a trade Thursday, the Browns were willing to work with their now-former starting quarterback in a trade. However, they were not prepared to accommodate his trade request Thursday. Of course, that was before Cleveland came in with a market-reshaping offer for Watson. Mayfield is now expected to be moved. His lack of a no-trade clause could prompt the Browns to move him to an NFC team, so it will be interesting to see how the team treats its longtime starter on the way out.
Indianapolis could easily fit Mayfield’s salary onto its payroll; the team created plenty of cap space by unloading Wentz. The Colts lead the NFL in cap space, at nearly $40MM, and have a glaring need at quarterback. Mayfield would obviously be an upgrade over anyone presently on the Colts. The Colts have a playoff-caliber roster, which features NFL rushing champion Jonathan Taylor. Though the team needs pass-catching help, Mayfield is undoubtedly intrigued by the talent in Indy.
The Seahawks lurk here as well. They emerged as a possibility for Mayfield earlier this week, and USA Today’s Josina Anderson tweets they have inquired on both Mayfield and Matt Ryan. Seattle would prefer an experienced QB, Anderson adds. While Pete Carroll indicated the Seahawks were fans of Drew Lock as a prospect, he bounced in and out of the Broncos’ starting lineup during a rocky three-year tenure. Ryan’s contract remains onerous for the Falcons to trade, and without Watson in the picture, Atlanta greenlighting a 15th season with Ryan would make sense financially.