Most teams prefer to enter the NFL season with as few unknowns under center as possible.
Some, like the Cleveland Browns of yesteryear, hold competitions, matching a veteran against an upstart rookie.
Two veterans dueling it out, though?
That’s far less common.
And it’s also probably not what to expect if Baker Mayfield stays on the roster come the end of summer.
Mayfield is a gamer; he’s a dog.
He wants to compete and he’s embraced the “chip on my shoulder”-”underdog mentality” forever.
Andrew Berry says verbatim the same thing he did last night, when asked about Baker Mayfield: "It’s a fluid situation, we’ll deal with it day-by-day…” #Browns
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) April 30, 2022
The Browns just aren’t going to give him that option.
They’ll hope and pray Watson doesn’t get the death sentence, and if he does, they’ll roll the dice with Jacoby Brissett under center.
But that doesn’t answer the question of where, and increasingly more important–when, Mayfield will move.
Who Could Be Interested?
All of those names have quite a bit in common.
First, each is a quarterback.
Second, each suited up for a sub-.500 team last season.
Third, each has three-plus years of experience.
Fourth, each has been touted as their respective franchise’s quarterback savior.
And each one has shown they are probably not their respective franchise’s quarterback savior.
The Giants passed on a Jones’ rookie option.
Lock, Goff, and Darnold are all already on their second team.
And each team projects to stink up the joint this season.
Why wouldn’t any of these teams be interested in Mayfield?
They seem like perfect suitors!
A few reasons.
None of those teams are demonstrably better with a different quarterback under center.
The Giants, Lions, and Panthers all ranked in the bottom-half of the league in team defense.
The only team that one could squint at and potentially see a winning team is Seattle.
For starters, the Seahawks ranked in the top half of the league in defense.
In pretty much any division, that’s a fringe playoff contender.
Except the AFC West isn’t “any division.”
It’s a loaded four with reigning Super Bowl champs L.A. Rams, the perennially decent San Francisco Forty-Niners, and the will-they-won’t-they Arizona Cardinals.
Playoff wins since the start of 2020:
Baker Mayfield 1
Russell Wilson 0
Dak Prescott 0
Justin Herbert 0
Kyler Murray 0
Matt Ryan 0
Derek Carr 0 pic.twitter.com/XivoufeDHg
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) May 6, 2022
For the Seahawks, it might just make more sense to wait it out this season, see what it has, and try to regroup when the division becomes a little easier.
So if none of those obvious teams are likely suitors for Mayfield, who?
At this rate, it might as well be a team no one sees coming.
And one that no fans want to see coming.
That’s because almost every year, one team appears set under center and then…uh-oh…there’s Jameis Winston being carted off the field with an ACL injury.
It’s going to happen.
A team is going to lose its signal caller and search for a band-aid.
And that team could do a lot worse than call the Browns for Baker Mayfield.
For Cleveland, it might mean getting a better return for the former Oklahoma Sooner.
That might mean hanging on to the disgruntled player into the season.
But for Mayfield, getting the chance to start in place of an injured QB could be his best shot at seeing real game time this season.
We call that a win-win.