Shane Dunaway: Baker, you deserve better

Published 8:00 am Saturday, April 16, 2022

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It certainly has been an interesting NFL offseason, particularly in the quarterback market, with flurries of trades and contract extensions aplenty.

Arguably the biggest loser in this game of musical chairs is current, but likely soon to be unemployed by the Cleveland Browns, quarterback Baker Mayfield.

After sacrificing his body playing while injured – which, by the way, no athlete at any level should do – the Browns front office rewarded him by trading for Houston Texans passer Deshaun Watson and saying they prefer to have an “adult” at quarterback.

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On the field, Watson is clearly the better signal caller, but he also has more baggage than the terminal of any major airport.

While Watson wasn’t indicted on any of the criminal charges he faced, he’s about to endure a barrage of civil lawsuits where the claims don’t have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mayfield is on the mend due to a shoulder injury, but he’s more likely to be available and eligible to play in Week 1, wherever he might suit up in 2022.

The same cannot be said for Watson, who should get somewhere in the ballpark of the six-game suspension former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger received in 2010 for his alleged misdeeds. And like Roethlisberger, Watson’s inevitable suspension will be reduced to four games, because the NFL has shown time and time again it doesn’t care about what its athletes do to women.

A number of reports have said Mayfield is interested in going to the Seattle Seahawks, and that could be a decent fit for him if a deal is made. The powers-that-be in the Seahawks front office should make the Browns sweat it out before making an offer, if they’re inclined to do so.

As a Carolina Panthers fan, I wouldn’t mind having Mayfield on the squad, but only if they can get him for nothing. I’m tired of seeing the franchise throw away draft picks in an attempt to resolve quarterback woes that could easily be fixed by signing free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick to an incentive-based deal, but that’s another column for another time – maybe next week.

Whether you love or hate Mayfield’s personality, the fact remains he brought the Cleveland fan base something the franchise had never achieved in its history – a 48-37 playoff win over the Steelers, a division rival, and he did it at Heinz Field.

All it took was one season marred with injuries for the Browns to become ungrateful for what Mayfield did.

Baker, you deserve better.