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A 3-Team Baker Mayfield Quarterback Trade Is Being Floated

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield on the field.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 14: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns reacts against the New England Patriots during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns have dug themselves into a deep hole this season.

Cleveland probably severed its relationship with Baker Mayfield when acquiring Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans. Now the Browns will likely begin 2022 without either quarterback.

The NFL is investigating Watson amid multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment. Though an impartial judge will rule on any disciplinary measures, the league is reportedly pursuing a season-long suspension.

However, there's one other prominent quarterback who also hasn't gotten traded yet despite rampant speculation. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio laid out a hypothetical three-team deal where Cleveland trades Mayfield to Carolina while acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo from San Francisco.

"A three-way trade could make sense, with the Browns sending Baker Mayfield to the Panthers, the Panthers sending a draft pick or two to the 49ers, and the 49ers sending Garoppolo to Cleveland," Florio wrote. "But the question of paying Mayfield’s $18.8 million guaranteed salary continues to complicate any such conversations."

Yet as Florio also noted, Garoppolo is set to make $25 million this season. Will Cleveland want to spend that much on a quarterback recovering from shoulder surgery months after giving Watson the most guaranteed money in NFL history?

Even if this proposal is a longshot, it may nevertheless be more likely than the Browns and Mayfield mending their relationship so he can start the season under center. 

Mayfield wrote what was essentially a goodbye letter to Cleveland fans before the team acquired Watson. The Browns reportedly wanted to move on from the No. 1 pick either way, expressing desire for an "adult" at quarterback before acquiring one who faced 24 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct.

On Tuesday, per SoonerScoop's Carey Murdock, Mayfield said it's up to the Browns to reach out if they want to reconcile. But he said he's already moved on.