The Browns have said all the right things about Baker Mayfield this offseason, expressing confidence in the former No. 1 overall pick as their starting quarterback in 2022. Behind closed doors, however, their eyes appear to be wandering. Weeks after reports indicated they would still explore the veteran QB market and just days after they surfaced as a potential suitor for embattled Texans star Deshaun Watson, the Browns are actively “fielding exploratory trade calls” about a possible deal for Mayfield, according to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson.
The Browns are, in fact, interested in Watson, per Wilson, but believe the Texans QB will end up elsewhere. Even so, he added, they “are not entirely satisfied … moving forward” with Mayfield as their starter. So much so that they are “open to the idea” of trading Mayfield, with the Colts, Panthers and Saints named as teams who could be interested, considering their apparent QB needs. This report comes a day after the Buccaneers were reported to have interest in a potential Mayfield trade — before Tom Brady abruptly announced his return from retirement Sunday night.
In truth, the Browns’ stance on Mayfield mirrors that of a half-dozen other teams, if not more. Finding an elite QB is tough business, so most clubs are always “open to the idea” of upgrading. The question is whether an upgrade actually exists. In Cleveland’s case, Watson could be the answer to that question, but the likelihood of the Browns acquiring him is unclear. In the meantime, Mayfield remains the Browns’ presumptive QB1 for 2022, the final year of his rookie contract.