Could the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans be back in business in the near future?
According to one report, it could make sense.
Baker Mayfield was once the No. 1 player taken in his draft, and despite what they say publicly, the Texans might not be fully convinced that second-year quarterback Davis Mills is the future of the franchise.
Nor should they be.
That said, the Browns want to move Mayfield because, of course, they acquired Deshaun Watson from the Texans in the blockbuster swap with Houston.
Though it should be noted there is a belief in Houston that if Mills, the former Stanford standout, was in this year's draft, he'd be the best quarterback in the class.
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Not to mention the Texans have been openly supportive of the idea of sticking with Mills.
Either way, from a logical perspective, it would seem that if the Texans really wanted the Texas native Mayfield, they would have asked for him to be included originally as part of the Watson swap - but we feel quite sure that Houston really just wanted the picks in that deal.
So, logic notwithstanding, what would a potential Mayfield to Houston scenario look like?
Houston Texans receive: QB Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns receive: Houston's 2023 seventh-round pickOne franchise that Mayfield could still wind up with is the Houston Texans. The club lacks an established veteran after letting Tyrod Taylor walk in free agency. Team brass opted against taking a prospect in the draft, leaving Davis Mills, who went 2-9 in his 11 starts last year, as the projected QB1 in Houston.
While third-round pick out of Stanford in 2021 flashed some upside last year, he's still a relatively raw prospect who could benefit from more time developing his game without the pressure of starting.
Mayfield would be an upgrade under center, especially if healthy. In 2020 he led the Browns to their first playoff victory since 1994 after going 11-5 in the regular season and throwing for 3,563 yards and 26 touchdowns against just eight interceptions.
While the 27-year-old played hurt last year and went just 6-8 in his starts, he still has the upside to emerge as a capable starter. Returning to his home state of Texas to play in a low-stakes environment for this rebuilding franchise could help rehabilitate Mayfield's career.The costs would be cheap in terms of draft capital—a late-round pick should get it done—and finances, with Cleveland likely to absorb most of the remaining $18.9 million on Mayfield's contract.
While most teams are staying away from Mayfield, the Texans should capitalize on a chance to secure the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 at a bargain-bin price.
Fair points all around. However, perhaps the most important question to ask when constructing this type of idea is -- how do the Texans truly feel about their QB situation, which features Mills, Kyle Allen and Jeff Driskel?
And publicly, despite the obvious concerns that face any team when breaking in a young starter under center, the Texans have been nothing but supportive about the idea of Mills.
"I think once you have three quarterbacks on your roster, you should feel pretty good about that — and we do," coach Lovie Smith said this spring. "We will keep all options open. But we feel good about our quarterback room right now, leading off with Davis Mills. I’ve talked about him and our feeling on who our leader will be."
So at least for now, the Texans seem to be happy to stick with Mills, at least until they hold the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, which they are favored to do by most experts.