The Browns are not expected to trade Baker Mayfield until after a decision is handed down by the NFL on the punishment for new quarterback Deshaun Watson.
According to Terry Pluto of cleveland.com the Browns and Panthers are still talking about a Mayfield trade. Carolina remains his most likely destination. Pluto also notes that a Mayfield/Sam Darnold swap as a possibility if Watson is suspended for the entire 2022 season. Their 2022 salaries are are exactly the same at $18.9M for 2022. In the event of a full season suspension the Browns would pursue a veteran backup QB to play behind Jacoby Brissett.
Many Browns fans are holding out hope that Mayfield may still get a chance to suit up for the Browns if Watson is suspended for the full season. There is zero percent chance of that happening. Bridges have been burned and neither side is interested in that possibility. It's time for both parties to move on.
Brissett was signed to be the backup to Watson and the fill in starter in the event of a full season suspension. He has started 37 career games completing 60.4% of his passes with 36 TD's and 16 INT's good for an 84.0 QB rating. Brissett is by no means a top tier quarterback, he takes care of the ball and is efficient running an offense. His best season was 2019 when he started 15 games for Indianapolis completing 61% of his passes with 18 TD's and only 6 INT's.
The bigger concern for the Browns if Watson misses the 2022 season is the backup spot to Brissett. They signed Josh Dobbs to be the 3rd quarterback which has been his role in his first two NFL seasons with Pittsburgh. He has only appeared in 6 career games throwing only 17 passes. While adding Darnold is not a very intriguing thought, it would give the Browns a veteran behind Brissett who has 49 starts under his belt. The former 3rd overall pick has yet to live up to his lofty expectations out of USC.
It was reported back in March when the rumors of the Browns interest in Watson popped up that Mayfield would not play for the Browns again and planned to sit out all of the offseason programs and training camp until a trade was found.
The Browns also have no intention of releasing Mayfield. They are confident a deal can be made once the time comes. That will most likely happen after the Watson news breaks. There is currently no timetable for a decision from the NFL. Some reports state they have already decided on the punishment while others report it is still ongoing given new information that has come out over the past few weeks. Regardless an announcement by the NFL is expected before Browns training camp opens in July.