49ers should not get involved in Baker Mayfield trade
The rumor mill has worked overtime this offseason with the 49ers quarterback situation. Speculation about Jimmy Garoppolo trade destinations and the 49ers’ perceived displeasure with Trey Lance have dominated headlines in the Bay Area since February.
The Cleveland Browns’ quarterback situation is even worse for a multitude of football and non-football reasons. For now we’ll focus on Baker Mayfield, who wants out of Cleveland after they traded for Deshaun Watson.
It would seem that San Francisco and Cleveland’s QB situations would only matter to each other insofar as both teams have a starting-caliber quarterback available for trade with limited potential trade partners on the market. ESPN’s Dan Graziano has a different idea. He proposed a swap between the two clubs:
Why not trade them for each other? San Fran saves some money, Cleveland gets a better backup option than Brissett. Baker gets to work with Kyle [Shanahan] for a year and be next year’s [Mitchell] Trubisky.
This is WILD stuff for a couple of reasons.
First, he wrote “San Fran.” Pro tip: don’t do that. Don’t write it. Don’t say it. It should be eliminated from the lexicon when referring to San Francisco. “Frisco” is acceptable if “San Francisco” is too cumbersome.
Second, this is not something San Francisco should explore. Taking on Mayfield’s $18.8 million cap hit would eliminate a lot of the benefit of shedding the Garoppolo deal. Since they gave Nate Sudfeld $2 million fully guaranteed, the 49ers would have more than $20 million sunk into their two backup QBs if they acquired Mayfield.
There’s also the aspect of the 49ers being Lance’s team. Adding Mayfield would be some indication there’s a lack of faith in Lance to hold down the starting job. Competition is typically good, but San Francisco can’t have the biggest long-term investment in team history looking over his shoulder every time he makes a bad throw in his first year as a starter.
Most teams don’t worry about their backup quarterback since losing a starting signal caller is typically a death knell for the season. There are outliers, but the Bills, Chiefs, Packers and every other team with an elite QB doesn’t sink a ton of money into their backup ‘just in case.’
If the 49ers are going to jump into the Lance pool, they have to do so all the way and not worry about who’s behind him or what happens if he struggles.
San Francisco seems all set under center, and throwing Mayfield into the mix is a bad idea.