The Baker Mayfield situation has been front and center in Pittsburgh and the NFC North. With the other teams in the division locked in with solid quarterbacks, Pittsburgh still has some work to do.
With second-year starter Joe Burrow leading the Bengals to the Super Bowl and the Ravens looking to lock up 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson with a long-term extension, Pittsburgh’s current crop of backups don’t match up with the rest of the division.
The Browns’ decision to trade for and sign Deshaun Watson to the largest contract in NFL history sort of left Pittsburgh in quarterback limbo. With Ben Roethlisberger retiring in January, the team was set to have Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins battle it out for their starting position.
The team then signed former No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky. Then unfortunately tragedy struck, as Haskins was killed in South Florida over the weekend. As the team deals with the grief of losing a teammate, their QB situation is still unstable and now they have one less potential starter in the room.
Skip Bayless of Fox Sports had this to say on “Undisputed” about the possibility of Tomlin trading for Baker.
“I’ve told you from the start I believe Pittsburgh is sitting there waiting, and God rest the soul of Dwayne Haskins, not that that would’ve factored into this because they signed Mitchell Trubisky, whom I assume to be their starter and I believe they’re just laying right on Baker Mayfield.”
#Steelers coach Mike Tomlin pulls out the same line he used to describe his WRs Sunday to talk of the #Browns offense: "The strength of their pack IS THE PACK." Of Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield, he says, "He's doing a good job of administering the offense."
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) October 13, 2020
To say Haskins didn’t factor much into the team’s QB plans is a bit much, no one truly knows what Tomlin’s intentions are with the position. Yes, they signed Trubisky but he’s not guaranteed to be the starter.
“They’re just waiting him out because they have time to wait because they know how good Baker is,” Bayless added. “He went to Pittsburgh in a playoff game, a division rival, and did a number on them with a 91 QBR. Mike Tomlin is thinking I want that guy to run my franchise because he’s made for Pittsburgh in this division, is what I believe.”
That’s funny, because a few weeks ago Bayless’ co-host Shannon Sharpe says he believes the Browns will have to cut Mayfield.
Sharpe Believes Hopes Of Securing A First-Round Pick For Mayfield Have Sailed
The longer the Browns insist on a first-rounder for Mayfield, the less value he’ll bring in a trade. Teams know they have to get rid of him after signing Watson to that huge deal. The team also signed journeyman Joshua Dobbs as the backup.
With Watson’s legal issues still fully unresolved, the belief is he won’t be available until Week 9 at the earliest. So if the Browns are looking at having Mayfield hold down the fort until Watson is available, they’re insane. It’s a shrewd move if they could pull it off but no way Mayfield can be on their roster after they gave up on him and got their franchise guy.
Here’s what Sharpe had to say about them trying to move Mayfield.
.@ShannonSharpe on how much of a market there is for Baker Mayfield:
"It looks like he's going to get cut. I don't see anyone offering a 1st Round pick for him. If teams know you have to get rid of him, they aren't going to give you what you want." pic.twitter.com/pWGgATaVPu
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) March 23, 2022
A few days ago he reiterated that he’s never seen a team with a $19 million backup. Sharpe also said since both parties have stated its best to part ways, that something needs to happen fast. Another issue affecting the trade is timing. Most teams have their QB for next season and beyond. So it would make no sense to allocate important resources for a one-year rental with Mayfield being in the final year of his rookie deal.
Steelers Have Weaponry At Their Disposal But Need A QB To Compete In Their Division
Tomlin has never suffered a losing season in his 15 years as an NFL head coach. That streak could end if he doesn’t figure out this position. With running back Najee Harris fresh off breaking Hall of Famer Franco Harris’ team rushing record, plus wide receivers Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool wielding immense talent and dynamic tight end Pat Freiermuth showing he’s the real deal, the Steelers have some young talented pieces any QB would be excited about.
Point blank, the Steelers have pieces but need a quality trigger man to lead the ship.