Andrew Berry hopes somebody’s quarterback situation changes before offseason workouts.
But the Cleveland Browns general manager knows he is in a tough situation with his cantankerous passer.
Fans continue to debate how much the Deshaun Watson contract affects the Browns’ future salary cap.
Even though the manner in which the Watson deal went down is already costing the team in 2022.
I do believe Andrew Berry has some sort of plan, and I do believe he planned for Baker Mayfield to be this upset that he's not a part of that plan.
— Ken Carman (@KenCarman) March 17, 2022
In an ideal world, Berry would have traded Mayfield right before announcing the Watson trade.
But the crazy scenario that brought Houston’s quarterback to Ohio unfolded quicker than expected.
Now the Browns have an unwanted, unhappy, and imperfect quarterback to get rid of.
And Berry has to rethink what the Browns can get back in a Mayfield deal.
From a First Rounder to Paid-to-Sit
Ideally, some team or coach will think they can communicate better and maximize Mayfield’s assets.
Reports that Andrew Berry wanted a first-round draft pick were outdated even before social media ran with them.
When Mayfield posted a “goodbye” to Instagram, it amplified the potential personality issues that come with him.
Naming the teams he wanted to go to alluded to his belief he is in control of his situation.
“Guy’s an idiot” Baker Mayfield was fed up with Freddie 🤣💀
— Footballism™ (@FootbaIIism) April 6, 2022
And when the teams he mentioned rejected the notion of trading for Mayfield, his price dropped further.
Negotiations now start with how much of Mayfield’s 2022 salary Cleveland is willing to pay.
And it is a very real possibility Mayfield is paid to be inactive for much of the season.
In a balanced trade, Berry might have to take on a problem in exchange for his problem.
Possible Trade Plan
Baker Mayfield’s 2022 salary is the biggest stumbling block to any immediate trade deal.
Eating some of the money is one option that makes the disgruntled passer more attractive.
But what if the Browns take on another big salary cap hit for a team in need of a quarterback?
Cleveland’s best trade partner might be the Atlanta Falcons, currently purging their roster for a rebuild.
If you peruse the NFL standings this morning, go team by team, the market for Baker Mayfield is…Seattle. That’s it. IMO, Baker doesn’t feel like a Frank Reich/Chris Ballard guy. Wentz drove the Colts crazy w ill-timed mistakes. Baker has lots of that in his football DNA.
— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) March 19, 2022
They signed oft-injured Marcus Mariota and penciled him in as their 2022 starting quarterback.
Berry can take Atlanta’s biggest contract, DL Grady Jarrett, off Atlanta’s hands in an exchange of salaries.
And draft picks can even up the value for Atlanta- perhaps Mayfield, a 3rd, and a 6th, for Jarrett and a 4th.
Jarrett could slide into the interior rotation for the Browns, quickly tilting the deal in their favor.
Money Exchange Seems Inevitable
Many analysts focus on Cleveland paying a chunk of Mayfield’s salary in any trade scenario.
But taking on another team’s bad contract might be more palatable to Andrew Berry.
Cleveland has salary cap room and can take on a bigger contract or combination for Mayfield’s $19 million.
But the trade partner has to have a potential role for Mayfield.
#Browns Jimmy Haslam said that they think highly of Baker Mayfield and did not get down on him.
Said ownership did not make a comment about Baker not being an "adult."
"We wish him nothing but the best of luck."
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) March 25, 2022
Atlanta can use a viable competitor or backup for Mariota, just like Seattle can for Drew Lock.
Any deal where the Browns receive a usable player or draft pick is a win for Andrew Berry at this point.
In effect, Cleveland will pay for anyone outside the AFC North to take on Baker Mayfield’s contract.
But receiving a usable player and/or picks gives the Browns a chance to save face in a difficult situation.