Baker Mayfield Makes a Ton of Sense for the Vikings

Baker Mayfield Makes a Ton of Sense for the Vikings

Fan-favorite Cleveland media member Mary Kay Cabot threw out a scenario the other day where the Browns may publicly say they are committed to Baker Mayfield but it may be to their benefit to make a change. 

A change may be easier now with the Vikings and Browns now trading front office people and coaches so the relationships could be in place for a landmark trade. While Vikings fans have grown tired of Kirk Cousins, one could argue his best seasons came when current Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski was on the Vikings staff. Now with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah being named the Vikings general manager, coming over from Cleveland’s front office, the relationship is where speculation of a trade is gonna start to bubble.

Both the Vikings and Browns have seen some ups and down with their quarterbacks over the years but most recently with Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield. For the Vikings, they have missed on that second gear from Kirk Cousins and for the Browns, they have been on a rollercoaster performance-wise from the former number one pick.

Both teams are at a crossroads, both teams have different needs, and both teams are at different stages of building a team they want. As weird as it seems though, a swap between the teams for the quarterbacks mentioned may make a ton of sense.

Kirk Cousins’ Contract Situation 

Contract Details via Spotrac

Let us take a minute to think about Kirk Cousins making 45 million next year…

Okay back to the article now cause this contract was actually very well written by Rick Spielman and his office. If the Vikings can find a trade partner at any point this offseason they can save $35 million of Cousins’ $45 million dollar salary and for a team projected to currently be $17 million over the salary cap those dollars could make a ton of difference on the roster as a whole. 

Obviously, if they cut him though they have to eat all of that salary and that also isn’t an option that makes a whole lot of sense anyway considering the value he still has. However though, to save money, they could restructure his deal and convert most of his salary to a signing bonus which would allow Cousins’ to be in Minneapolis one more year while also not hamstringing the roster. 

Not a lot of options with it but that is why the Vikings have a general manager with an economics degree from Princeton to handle these situations, and more obviously.

Baker Mayfield’s Contract Situation 

Contract Details via Spotrac

Now unlike the Kirk Cousins contract, Cleveland can’t save any money by trading away Baker Mayfield. His salary of $18 million is guaranteed to him, the luxury of being the number one pick still on a rookie deal, so a move for Cleveland would have to be incentivized. Not suggesting a Brock Osweiler type of move for Minnesota where they send a package of picks with Cousins but something may be needed to sweeten the pot.

The only snag in this trade to be done though may in fact lie in the thought that if Cleveland wants to move on from Baker Mayfield, they can do so in a cheaper way.

Why Kirk Cousins Makes Sense for Cleveland 

Head coach Kevin Stefanski as mentioned, and is well known by most Vikings fans, had a very successful and long tenure in Minnesota. Stefanski had a good successful first year with Baker Mayfield but saw a severe drop-off this past season. Mayfield did have a torn labrum for the majority of the season which hampered his play but at the same time, rumblings began to start before being squashed of the two having issues with each other.

The incentive for the Browns to make a move though lies in that like Mayfield, Cousins only has one more year left so this experiment isn’t for the long term. What can be tested though is if Stefanski and Cousins can show that just because the marriage went a long distance that doesn’t mean the relationship is strained. Cousins has done more with less going back to his days of playing football in our nation’s capital and this Browns receiving corp is set to be that with Jarvis Landry set to be a salary casualty and with them set to draft a receiver in the top of the draft. 

Not a good situation to evaluate a quarterback on a rookie deal like Mayfield but the offense in Minnesota on the other hand maybe…

Why Baker Mayfield Makes Sense for Minnesota

This is your warning Vikings fans, Baker Mayfield is completely different from Kirk Cousins in both the good and bad ways but what he has that Cousins doesn’t is the long-term upside.

Mayfield getting traded on his fifth-year option gives him the ultimate platform to perform in an offense that is more developed than what he had in Cleveland. Yes, he had Odell Beckham Jr. but he couldn’t keep him happy and the environment there may have played a bigger part in that. In Minnesota, he would obviously have Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen who he can rely on while also having the running game with Dalvin Cook as a security blanket.
For Mayfield to be properly evaluated he needs an offense like the Vikings, if he performs you may have a long-term answer for cheap by trading Cousins away. If not though, no harm, no foul because as mentioned earlier this week the 2023 quarterback class is more talent-rich and a replacement can be found there.

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