Now that the 2022 NFL Draft is in the rearview mirror, perhaps the biggest question in the NFL is where the Cleveland Browns will end up trading former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield. He’s coming off an injury-riddled 2021 campaign that saw all of his numbers drop considerably. He finished with 3,010 yards through the air, 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. Let’s take a look at this analysis for your NFL odds.
Seattle Most Likely Spot For Baker Mayfield?
Reportedly, the Browns and Carolina Panthers were fairly close to a trade before the second round of the draft last Friday before teams fell apart. Carolina would seemingly not be in the market for Mayfield after selecting Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral at No. 94 overall – stunning that Corral fell that low. He apparently did because Corral has dealt with a multitude of issues including alcohol and related issues. He has admitted publicly to battling depression, had unreliable behavior off the field and struggled in some interviews with teams.
All Panthers GM Scott Fitterer gave up was a fourth-round pick (No. 137) and next year’s third-round pick for a player coach Matt Rhule said could have been a first-rounder in Corral. Trading for Mayfield was an option if the Browns had agreed to pick up a large portion of Mayfield’s 2022 salary, according to sources. But long-term, Fitterer wanted a rookie with a low salary to develop as he did in Seattle with Russell Wilson.
While Fitterer didn’t completely rule out adding a veteran to the quarterback room that now includes Darnold, P.J. Walker and Corral, he emphatically said the Panthers are “happy with the group we have.”
Mayfield is due $18.85 million in 2022, and the Browns have zero leverage. Too many bridges have been burned for Mayfield to play in Cleveland this year after Cleveland traded for Deshaun Watson – although he is probably looking at a minimum of a six-game suspension. To get something in return for Mayfield, the Browns may have to wait if necessary on a freak injury to another team’s QB that while not unprecedented (Teddy Bridgewater, 2016), is highly unlikely.
The Browns’ mandatory minicamp is June 14-16 and Mayfield will likely want to attend. Not only will he want to want to avoid fines, but it would send a message to prospective employers that he is a team player. The Browns can’t tell Mayfield to stay away, but they can excuse him from attending and waive a fine.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Titans all either found their heir apparent or 2022 starters in the NFL Draft that concluded Saturday. So they are out on Mayfield. That likely leaves only Seattle right now. In what world is Mayfield not an upgrade on Drew Lock, Jacob Eason and Geno Smith?
The Seahawks, to the surprise of many, didn’t select a quarterback during the draft, which was a little over a month after the organization moved Wilson to Denver. Mayfield might prefer Seattle as well. If he doesn’t end up in the Pacific Northwest, he might have to settle for a backup job to start the 2022 campaign.No Black Friday Game
Last week, there were reports that new NFL partner Amazon, which takes over Thursday night games this year, was trying to convince the league to also scheduled a game on Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving in the USA. However, that is not expected to happen in 2022 in part because the game would have had to be squeezed in right after the USA-England World Cup game. The NFL isn’t allowed to schedule games for most Friday nights because of its antitrust exemption.
The U.S. is slated to host England at 2 p.m. ET on Black Friday in Qatar. There’s no more anticipated match for the American audience than that game, which has a real shot at smashing soccer records and delivering a massive overall audience.
The NFL has played games on Fridays, but they have been played on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day since 1999. The league did have a pair of Friday games on New Year’s Eve in 1993, which was also a holiday. The last time the NFL played games on a Friday that wasn’t on a holiday was in 1986, six days before Christmas on Dec. 19. The last time the NFL played a game on a Friday that wasn’t in December was when the Los Angeles Rams played the St. Louis Cardinals to open the season on Sept. 18, 1970 — a game that started at 11 p.m. ET.
Amazon already has lined up Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit for the broadcast booth. During the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the league announced the matchup for Amazon Prime’s first broadcast: the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday, Sept. 15.