To say the Cleveland Browns traded Baker Mayfield for pennies on the dollar doesn’t fully illustrate just how little they received in return. He was the first quarterback to lead the organization to a playoff win and relevance in well over a decade and was rewarded by being traded one season later.
Their decision to jettison Mayfield in favor of overpaying for Deshaun Watson is alarming. The front office was willing to look past the obvious off-the-field concerns and a looming suspension in an effort to upgrade a position that wasn’t a genuine problem.
Cleveland’s offseason has certainly been head-scratching overall and there is no questioning they lost this trade to Carolina. Even if Mayfield doesn’t prove to be the long-term answer for the Panthers, they upgraded at the position while the Browns are now short of options if Watson does get banned as expected.
The Browns will be stuck paying Mayfield around $10 million this season, adding insult to what was already a lopsided trade. Cleveland will likely have to roll with Jacoby Brissett as their starting quarterback, which could go either way for a team that harbored hopes of mounting a Super Bowl challenge with Watson under center.