The former No. 1 overall pick has yet to be traded, which may confuse some fans. The problem is the fact he is fully guaranteed $18.8 million in 2022 as part of his fifth-year option. Teams can just wait out the Browns to either take on some of his salary in a trade or outright release him. If a team was going to trade for his full salary, it likely would have happened by now.
So let's say the Browns either find a taker, while taking on salary, or release him. There is one team in particular that is a great fit and also makes for the best story. That team is the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Baker Mayfield can get a proper revenge arc with the Pittsburgh Steelers
If he is not released, would the Browns really trade him to a division rival? Well, they clearly don't believe in him, so it's still possible in order to dump some money off the books.
Would the Steelers want him? At the moment, they have Mitchell Trubisky as the top option, with Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins also on the roster. If the team doesn't want to take a rookie, they can set up a competition between Trubisky and Mayfield with a focus on the 2023 draft, if neither can get the Steelers into the postseason.
But let's return to the revenge arc. NFL fans know Mayfield is a hard-nosed player. He had a chip on his shoulder in college and brought that to Cleveland, which won him a ton of support from fans. Going to Pittsburgh would give him added motivation to work harder than ever to stick it to the Browns, making sure they regret moving on in favor of Deshaun Watson.
The two teams meet up twice a year, and the AFC North is already a stacked division. Every team can make the playoffs, including the Browns and the Steelers.
The NFL schedule currently ensures a divisional matchup to close out each team's season. The Browns and Steelers often meet in that final game, and a playoff berth being on the line with Mayfield under center for Pittsburgh would be a storyline no one could look away from.
The Steelers, along with the Seattle Seahawks, make the most sense to take on someone like Mayfield. He needs to go somewhere and prove himself in a one-year situation, and a competition with Trubisky where the Browns are taking on salary makes too much sense.
Could he do it by sticking it to his old team and earning his second contract that way? That would be a fitting story for anyone who has followed the Browns since 1999.