NFL Insider Notes: Impact of Baker Mayfield’s inevitable departure, plus predictions for the top 10 picks by position

The closer we get to the draft, the less likely Baker Mayfield will be in Cleveland by the time April gives way to May. And as Mayfield grounds can certainly affect the way players get off the board and which teams use the best pick on a bystander.

Things have been quiet lately with Mayfield, which is generally fine. Better for the Browns, as they seek to find a way to move him and his nearly $19 million contract, to see what value they can take away. Best for Mayfield, who had no shortage of turmoil during his relatively short time in Cleveland. And it would be better for any team to end up relegated, trying to move into the new locker room and coaching staff.

What has long been clear is that Mayfield has no future with Brown. And I sense a sense that this situation may end up being resolved in the coming weeks. Neither side wants this to continue in the depths of the season. Cleveland has had enough of a controversy already swallowing up the quarterback room with commerce for Deshaun Watson and the extension of his previous contract; He doesn’t need any extra drama from Mayfield.

Owner Jimmy Hassan already had a payroll expected to be over $250 million (up to a maximum of $208 million), so moving as much of Mayfield’s contract as possible would be a priority. The crucial question was, and still is, how much of this salary is Hassan willing to eat in order to get something in return? This is what other teams are waiting for. this is the problem. And after the secured contract Watson awarded to set records, no other owner is in the mood to try and help Haslam out. It wouldn’t shock me if Brown ended up charging $5 million or more to facilitate a solid return, because that’s the team that originally paid $16 million (by assuming Brock Osweiler’s bloated contract) to pick the draft.

If this trade goes down around the draft, it will almost certainly affect another team that likely won’t use a high pick on their quarterback. Seattle makes the most sense to me for Mayfield, though. The Seahawks are used to having a QB without the perfect size, they don’t mind the big personalities, Mayfield has been in the playoffs, and I don’t see Pete Carroll wanting a real reboot under position.

At this point, I’m still going back to the Hawks and Panthers as teams that will take QB into the top 10 – and possibly the Lions as well, despite Dan Campbell’s protests – and the Steel, Saints, Leaders and Giants teams as other teams that could end up addressing the situation sooner rather than later in the draft.

Top 10 equation

I don’t do a mock draft until the day of the first round, but if I were to do that endeavor now, I would be very inclined to have four rushing players, three offensive tackles, a cornerback, and two quarterbacks in the top 10.

Things haven’t been fully focused yet – this usually happens in draft week when teams finish their internal meetings and visits with potential clients – but there are certain names that are hard to see who don’t land top in third place from the first round. Some positions are too important to ignore, and the needs of the teams selected in the top ten correspond to the players available in these positions.

Certainly, Aman like Kyle Hamilton could appear in the top 10. Two corners may slide inward. But put me at the bottom of this elementary equation.

brown outbreak

Despite all the chatter about Brown attacking and putting them in the middle, if this team resists Watson’s inevitable suspension and gets to where it hopes to go, the defense should be exponentially better. The Grant Delpit Youth Safety Program could have a lot to do with that.

It hasn’t been long since Delpit came out of LSU looking like a squad maker. Injuries have taken him more time than anyone might want, but he is in a position to be a standout player for Browns this season and he should make a solid start with Jon Johnson III. Delpit lined up to be a start, as Ronnie Harrison recently brought back a no-frills veteran to work in a deep role and as a nickel back (Brown is no stranger to three safety combinations).

I have my eyes set on Delpit as someone who can take a big leap this season. Browns still want to bolster their passing impulse – and I think they will – and they may also end up playing a bit more with the lead, which will allow them to be more creative about how they deploy certain key players.

In memory of Dwayne Haskins

Dwayne Haskins is gone too soon. His passing at the age of 24 is a tragedy that has left many friends, loved ones and teammates devastated. It’s still hard to understand honestly.

For the first time in his very short career, Haskins has found a place that feels like home. Recruited in a horrific situation in Washington – which was close to where he played high school ball but offered no infrastructure or development plan and was probably the worst place he could get – Haskins truly felt wanted in Pittsburgh.

Head coach Mike Tomlin was the driving force for the Ohio State legend who landed the Steelers in the first place, and he continued to care and mentor him until his death over the weekend. I was told that Haskins was thriving both in and out of the field in this climate. He would have had the chance to compete for a bigger role in Pittsburgh. He would have had the opportunity to begin silencing the crowd in sports and in the media who seemed extraordinarily invested in his failure.

His story was untold. There should have been a lot of opportunities. His life was apparently just the beginning. And now it’s gone. And there’s a lot about what could have been and we’ll never know.

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