The Browns’ offseason was filled with hypotheticals, but the one they were most interested in revolved around quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The team spent their first two picks on Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward (the second pick), which raised speculation that a trade for Taylor might be forthcoming.

The “cleveland browns record” is a football team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They play in the National Football League (NFL). The Browns have been struggling lately, and may have to make a disappointing compromise this spring.

The Browns May Have to Make a Disappointing Compromise This Spring

The Cleveland Browns undoubtedly thought Baker Mayfield would be their franchise quarterback for years to come as the 2021 NFL season started, particularly after he led the long-suffering team to the AFC Divisional Round.

That should be the last time anybody aspires for the Browns to succeed.

Three months after Mayfield and the Browns missed the playoffs, no one knows what the future holds for the Oklahoma product. Cleveland is moving ahead with Deshaun Watson as quarterback, and Mayfield obviously wants a new beginning with a different team.

The Browns have not officially traded Mayfield as of publishing, and if they want to liberate their former starting quarterback, they may have to make a regrettable concession.

The Cleveland Browns may have to take a financial hit in order to trade Baker Mayfield before the 2022 season.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in 2022.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in 2022. Will Baker Mayfield be traded by the Cleveland Browns? | Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Even before the Browns were identified as a serious contender for Watson’s services, it didn’t seem implausible that the team would contemplate dealing Mayfield. Last season, the 26-year-old didn’t help his cause when he and his wife, Emily, both blasted fans for booing the squad.

To claim there isn’t any movement on the Mayfield trade would be like saying Tom Brady is a fine football player.

According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic on Wednesday, April 6, a front-runner has yet to emerge in any Mayfield trade negotiations, owing in part to his contract. Because the Browns picked up his fifth-year option ahead of last season, the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner will be paid $18.8 million in 2022.

Mayfield, who turns 27 on April 14, is recuperating from surgery on his left shoulder. If the Browns seek to trade the fifth-year quarterback in the coming months, according to Howe, they may have to eat money.

Mayfield’s move might be delayed until after the draft, according to Howe. Given that the Browns’ offseason practices begin on April 19, having the veteran quarterback there while awaiting a trade that may never happen would be unpleasant.

Even if the Browns eat part of Mayfield’s salary, don’t be shocked if he struggles to find a buyer.

To be clear, there’s a reason no one is rushing up to sign Mayfield. Last season, he struggled through many ailments, including a labrum injury in Week 2, to complete 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions in 14 games.

Although $18.8 million may not seem like a lot for a starting quarterback, it is a lot for a backup quarterback. Consider the possibility that Drew Lock will be the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks in 2022. Lock, who played for the Denver Broncos for portions of three seasons, is set to earn just $1.45 million next season. Mayfield would be paid almost $20 million next year to sit on the bench if Seattle acquired him and he didn’t win the starting position.

Let’s pretend for the sake of argument that the Browns opt to forego $8 million. How many clubs are willing to shell out $10 million for a backup quarterback? Most backup quarterbacks earn up to $4 million a year, and that’s usually reserved for the older and more experienced veterans like Colt McCoy and Chad Henne, who can step in and play effectively in an emergency. A simple look at NFL depth charts reveals that many quarterbacks, young and elderly, make less than $2 million a year to sit on the bench or wield a clipboard.

This group of veteran backups will make more than $4 million this season: McCoy, Colt $3.75M Keenum, Case $3.5M $2 million for Brian Hoyer $2 million for Chase Daniel

— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) March 22, 2022

So, how does this affect Mayfield? In contrast to Henne and McCoy, he has lately been a full-time starting quarterback. He’s a capable game manager who, at 26 years old, seemed poised to follow in Tom Brady’s footsteps as a young quarterback who didn’t have to rely exclusively on flashy throwing stats to win on Sunday afternoons.

Unfortunately for Mayfield, unless he sits out the 2022 season, there’s nothing he can do to get out of Cleveland. He’d at least get the money he’s entitled if he did so, and we must stress that there have been no genuine rumors of his contemplating such a severe step. But what influence would it have on his future? When former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell declined to play on the franchise tag in 2018, he was coming off an All-Pro season and never played in a game.

Mayfield, on the other hand, isn’t even close to becoming a Pro Bowl quarterback right now. It’s frustrating to think he went from being on the verge of a second deal in Cleveland to being stranded in Ohio because no club wants to take on his salary.

When the Factory of Sadness is involved, life in the NFL may be brutal. Even Mayfield, the 2018 first-round selection, couldn’t alter it.

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Baker Mayfield Is Still the Best QB in (Modern) Browns History, Despite His Ugly Departure

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