Baker Mayfield to the Steelers talk isn’t going away just yet
By Tommy Jaggi
As the Browns decide what to do with QB Baker Mayfield, a report suggests the Pittsburgh Steelers would snatch him up if he were to be released.
I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy to drop the Baker Mayfield buzz. Even as we approach an NFL Draft in which the Steelers seem certain to select a quarterback early, the ‘Mayfield to Pittsburgh’ whispers ensue.
Recently, ESPN reporter, Jeff Darlington, suggested that if the Browns cut Mayfield, he would sign with the Steelers the next day. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com added that the Steelers would “pounce” at the opportunity to sign the Browns quarterback.
After Cleveland executed a blockbuster trade for QB Deshaun Watson this offseason, Mayfield and the Browns have had a massive falling out, and it’s only a matter of time before they part ways.
While there could be some truth in Pittsburgh’s interest to add the former first overall pick from the 2018 NFL Draft, Darlington adds that there is very little chance that Mayfield is cut outright, and that Cleveland will search for a trade partner.
The Carolina Panthers seem to be one of the frontrunners at the moment. Even if Pittsburgh had an interest in acquiring Mayfield, the Browns would not deal him to Pittsburgh (although this would make for an interesting revenge tour).
Steelers very unlikely to end up with Mayfield
Darlington’s report is intriguing, but unless Mayfield is released prior to the NFL Draft, it doesn’t seem likely at all that he winds up in Pittsburgh.
Over the past six weeks, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been scouring the countryside scouting the top quarterback prospects this year. They’ve spent so much time with the quarterbacks this offseason that they’ve neglected meeting with many players who are projected to fall in their draft range in the first round.
Even if Baker Mayfield is released and it happens sometime following the NFL Draft, the Steelers are likely to have already spent a high draft choice on a QB as well as have Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph under contract on their roster.
Still, it seems very likely that Cleveland will be able to find a trade partner for a team hoping to revive Mayfield’s career. Essentially forced into an ultimatum, the Browns may not be able to expect much draft capital in return, and they may be willing to trade him to the first team outside of the division to come knocking.
Mayfield was unspectacular in 2021 — throwing just 17 touchdowns with 13 interceptions for 3,010 yards while leading his team to a 6-8 record, according to Pro Football Reference. However, in 2020, Mayfield recorded 26 touchdowns and 8 interceptions to go with 7.7 adjusted yards per attempt. He was 11-5 in 2020 and had a playoff win over the Steelers.
The team that ultimately requires Baker Mayfield via trade will hope that he can return to his 2020 form, but it won’t be Pittsburgh. Still, these rumors don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.