In so many ways, QB Baker Mayfield is a part of the story of the 2022 NFL season for the Cleveland Browns. Mayfield entered the offseason having surgery on his shoulder with expectations that he would bounce back with the team that drafted him #1 overall. Instead, the Browns pursued Deshaun Watson, Mayfield demanded a trade, Cleveland acquired Watson and finally dealt their former Heisman Trophy winner to the Carolina Panthers.
When the Panthers waived Mayfield, it completed the process of deciding what trade compensation the Browns would get back from Carolina. Missing the required mark of snaps, the Panthers will send a fifth-round pick to Cleveland in the 2024 NFL draft.
Somehow, someway, despite that trade being finalized, Mayfield still found himself in a situation where he impacts the Browns draft.
The Los Angeles Rams claimed Mayfield and were forced into playing him just two days later. The storybook ending of that game was a fun one and led to Mayfield winning NFC Player of the Week and gave the Rams just their fourth win of the season.
Mayfield ending up with the Los Angeles team from the NFC could also impact the slotting of the pick that was sent to Cleveland in return for CB Troy Hill. After drafting CB Martin Emerson Jr. in the 2022 draft, and internally deciding to move CB Greg Newsome II inside, the Browns moved Hill back to his former team while last year’s draft was still going on.
Cleveland acquired a 2023 fifth-round pick in return for Hill.
Right now, the Rams are tied for the fourth-worst record in the NFL which slots that selection at #142, two picks ahead of where the Browns are currently slotted. Los Angeles has a couple of tough games to finish out their season but if Mayfield can lead them to two or three more wins, the pick Cleveland acquires in the fifth round could drop from the top of the round down near the middle.
A player whose career many fans of the Browns will follow closely still has a direct impact on his former team despite now being on his third team in the last five months.