The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the quarterback news once again. A recent Sports Illustrated article claims the Steelers have interest in Baker Mayfield if he were to be released by the Browns. The article quotes Browns reporter Mary Kay Cabot as saying the Steelers would “pounce on an opportunity to sign Mayfield”. . https://www.si.com/nfl/steelers/news/pittsburgh-steelers-interested-signing-baker-mayfield
The Steelers presumably have their starting quarterback in place after signing Mitch Trubisky. Steelers 2022 quarterback: Why not Mitch Trubisky?
Adding another quarterback to the mix could invite controversy. Let’s go over the pros and cons of adding Baker Mayfield to the mix:
Baker Mayfield is a very polarizing figure in the NFL. The former number one overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft has had his ups and downs in his short career. He is coming off his worst season, ending up with a 17/13 touchdown to interception ratio in 2021. A lot of that can be attributed to several injuries Mayfield suffered during the season. Just one year ago, Mayfield led the Browns on a playoff run that ended five points shy of an AFC Championship. In 2020, Mayfield had a much better 26/8 ratio, to go along with 3,500 yards passing. You could make a very good argument Mayfield would be a significant upgrade from Mitch Trubisky.
How the Steelers would acquire Mayfield is a very important factor. During the podcast, Cabot points out this would happen only if the Browns released their former starting quarterback. Pittsburgh would then have an opportunity to claim Mayfield on waivers, but this would require them to take on the full $18.8 million due on his contract. The more likely scenario is the team would wait until Mayfield clears waivers, then attempt to sign him to a lesser deal.
With money not being a factor, and the ability to upgrade the quarterback room, this does make some sense for the Steelers. Mayfield never really got a chance to shine in the dysfunctional Browns environment. Don’t underestimate revenge as a motivating factor for Baker Mayfield either. There’s probably nothing he would enjoy more than beating his former team as a part of their most hated rival. Pittsburgh could really benefit from a properly motivated Mayfield.
The elephant in the room to any Steelers have interest in Baker Mayfield narrative is the fact they already signed a starting quarterback. Mitch Trubisky did not sign in Pittsburgh to be part of a serious competition. He would undoubtedly be upset with the team adding another player at his position. This kind of quarterback controversy rarely ends well for anyone involved. It quickly becomes a distraction to everyone on the team.
On the field, Mayfield has his warts as well. His tendency to turn the ball over has to be a concern. The 56 interceptions in four years are a major red flag with this player. Mayfield’ s entire tenure in Cleveland can best be described as erratic at best. There have been glimpses of greatness, followed by periods of atrocious play. He may not be a slam dunk upgrade to Mithc Trubisky as most think.
When you are a team in search of the next franchise quarterback, turning over every stone should be the plan at all times. If there is a chance to add a former number one overall pick to the quarterback mix, the Steelers are not in a position to turn it down. Pittsburgh would be foolish to pass up on Baker Mayfield just on principal alone. If he is willing to sign with the team in reasonable terms, the Steelers would be doing themselves a disservice by not bringing him in. The NFL is a quarterback driven league. Until you have the right one, you have very little chance at a Super Bowl.