A week ago, ESPN’s Dan Graziano linked Baker Mayfield to the Minnesota Vikings as the Cleveland Browns quarterback will likely need a new home in the near future.
In March, the Browns pulled off a risky trade for Deshaun Watson, a player facing 25+ allegations of sexual misconduct involving massage therapists. Mayfield was the quarterback for Cleveland amid the last three seasons, but the Browns are opting for a new era in Watson — for better or worse.
And if the Vikings want Mayfield — that should be considered a fringe theory for now — he might be more affordable than previously thought. Albert Breer from SI.com told The Rich Eisen Show this week that the Browns may be willing to pay nearly half of Mayfield’s 2022 salary.
“Cleveland’s been willing to take on a fair amount of Baker’s salary, like $9, $10 million For people out there who think that Cleveland’s holding on to Baker as Deshaun insurance, they wouldn’t be offering to take on a pretty significant portion of the guy’s salary if they were looking to hold him until there’s more clarity in the Deshaun Watson case,” Breer told The Rich Eisen Show.
A cheaper Mayfield merely sweetens the deal for a trade. The Browns are in a strange spot bartering the former QB1 because Mayfield becomes an unrestricted free agent next spring. If a team is truly interested in Mayfield, it can simply wait nine months and sign him on the open market, preventing the offloading of trade assets, presumably draft capital.
The theory behind Mayfield to Minnesota is also a little weird. Kirk Cousins earns $35 million per season, but pairing him with Mayfield is evidently a way to hedge the bet in 2022. albeit with two cooks in the kitchen. No one from the Vikings side of things has expressed interest in Mayfield. However, new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah worked with Mayfield for a couple of years in Cleveland.
Plus, the Vikings already have Kellen Mond in the quarterback room. Minnesota spent a 3rd-Round pick on Mond in 2021, and the Texas A&M alumnus figures to battle for the QB2 job at training camp in July. Of course, Mayfield is an established starter and a better QB2 option than Mond, but most Vikings fans are curious to see the progression of the Aggie. Not much could be gleaned from Mond in 2021, as the former coaching staff largely kept a lid on his services.
No matter where Mayfield ends up, he might be available for cheap this summer via trade. Before the Breer comments, some team would have to kick in $18+ million for Mayfield. Now, though, a team could send picks to Cleveland for around a $9 million price if Breer’s reporting is correct.
Mayfield is 27 years old.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).