NFL Expert Steven Cheah Listed The Cleveland Browns As The #2 Most Likely Destination For Aaron Rodgers In 2022

2) Cleveland Browns - This could send Browns fans up in arms, but we have to ask when tough topics like this come up. Are you confident Baker Mayfield is a confetti QB? Could you picture those Lombardi Trophy shaped tissue paper falling down on him in early February with his play being a big reason the team won the Super Bowl? It's hard to definitively say at this moment. Right now, I'm leaning no. And I really like Baker. He's done so much for Cleveland and he's ended that long, embarrassing jersey that fans made with all the QBs that started for them over the past nearly two decades. But if you have the chance to get Aaron Rodgers, do you still love Baker? Mayfield will be entering his 5th year option, which the Browns already picked up, that will pay him $18,858,000 in 2022. If they were to release him, it would be that number of dead cap as 5th year options are guaranteed with the new CBA. The Browns are ready to win right now. Can Baker get them to the promised land? He's certainly got a shot, but this year will be a big time evaluation of his play, which so far, hasn't warranted being one of the top paid players at his position. Ultimately, that is something GM Andrew Berry will have to decide. Other notable names from that Draft Class that will certainly be getting the big bucks - Buffalo's Josh Allen and Baltimore's Lamar Jackson. Does Baker deserve to make in those guy's neighborhood ($35M+ per year)? 

Very similarly to the Broncos, the Browns are a turnkey job for a QB. They've got dynamic WRs in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry (both of whom are under contract for 2022). They're backfield is tops in the league with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and they've got arguably the best Offensive Line in the league. The transition would also likely be the easiest as Cleveland HC Kevin Stefanski uses similar concepts to what Rodgers uses currently under Packers HC Matt LaFluer. 

On Defense, the Browns have some dudes with Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and John Johnson III. Their cap room is much less at only $3M right now for 2022, but that can be manipulated and scheduled earnings converted to future earnings, so I'm not crazy worried about fitting in Rodgers. They also have all their Draft Picks in 2022 plus an extra 4th and they're in the AFC. Be on the lookout for Cleveland in the Aaron Rodgers sweepstakes.

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After further review…………Steven Cheah is right.

Listen, I might be the biggest Baker Mayfield fan out here. There is no one I'd rather win with than #6. He's electric. He's likable. He turned the franchise around. And he loves Cleveland. He's completely embraced the city and he's one of us. But he's one of us that is only making $4.9 million in guaranteed salary this season. Next year, in the 5th year option that the Browns already picked up, he will be making $18 million. And after that? Ian Rapoport says he doesn't see ANY quarterback settling for a measly $30 million extension going forward. And he sees the Lamar Jacksons and Josh Allens of the world getting upwards of $40 million a year. When Baker takes this team to the playoffs again this season, which he will because he's surrounded by arguably the best supporting cast in the NFL, he will be demanding that type of money as well. 

And that's exactly my point: do we need a $40 million QB for this team to win? Or could we spread out that money, continue to have the best supporting cast in the NFL, and still win with a 8 to 15 million dollar a year QB?

Browns fans may not like this but it's how I feel. We're going to go 12-5 with Baker Mayfield this year under center, and we'd probably still go 11-6 if Case Keenum has to step in. We still have the best running back duo in the league with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. We still have Jarvis Landry, OBJ, Austin Hooper, David Njoku, and Harrison Bryant catching passes. We still have Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward on the other side of the ball. And we've added enough pieces like Clowney, John Johnson, Troy Hill, and Anthony Walker to make us the far and away most improved defense in the league. Honestly, the only way we lose this year would be because of Baker Mayfield!

Again, I love the guy. I'll be rocking my #6 jersey on Sundays. But if I were the GM of the Cleveland Browns that had to make these types of decisions, I'd be thinking long and hard about how to spend my money going forward. 

Now with that being said, I know quarterback is the most important position in the league. We can't trot out Logan Woodside and expect to compete in the AFC North and beyond. We need someone competent. And many people will say let's just pay the premium when we know we have the guy. Who cares if it's $40 million? You need a QB to win in this league. And that's where I agree with Cheah and I ask you: for the exact same price, would you rather have Aaron Rodgers or Baker Mayfield? Sure we'd only have Aaron for a year or two, but this team would be the prohibitive Super Bowl favorites with Rodgers leading it. I know the city loves Baker Mayfield, but guys, a SUPER BOWL!

**This was all a hypothetical and while 2022 Tate may take Aaron Rodgers if available, 2021 Tate has Baker Mayfield and we're hosting the AFC Championship in Cleveland this year baby I can feel it.