The man who actually was supplanted by Deshaun Watson wanted to be traded the Colts. Instead, the Colts traded for the man who was almost supplanted by Watson.
To the extent some think Baker Mayfield needed to be humbled, losing out on his top choice to an aging player who entered the league when Mayfield was only 13 years old may have done the trick.
So where does Mayfield turn? The Seahawks continue to be an intriguing option. They may be the only viable option.
The Texans don’t want him; otherwise, he would have been tucked into the Watson trade package. (Then again, if the Browns hit fire-sale mode on Mayfield, maybe the price becomes more attractive to Houston.) The Panthers have a failed top-five quarterback from the 2018 draft in Sam Darnold; they’re looking for a major upgrade, not another stop-gap placeholder.
The Saints could have been in play. The new Jameis Winston contract would seem to suggest otherwise. (The final structure of the Winston deal could suggest otherwise to the otherwise.)
Then there are the Lions. That’s the best choice, in my view. Mayfield is the personification of the kneecap-biting attitude that coach Dan Campbell is trying to instill, the hardscrabble, likable (for the most part) punk who is equal parts Rick Mahorn and Marshall Mathers.
Baker Mayfield versus Jared Goff is a no-brainer. Mayfield is the right guy for the Lions, right now. John Dorsey, who drafted Mayfield in Cleveland and currently works in Detroit, should be buddyboying his way around the building, in an effort to create a consensus that they should go get Mayfield.
It may not cost very much. The Browns want to offload the $18.8 million guaranteed salary. Maybe they’ll pay some of it. Or maybe they’ll take peanuts in order to dump all of it.
Regardless, the evaporation of the Colts as a landing spot for Mayfield will make it harder to place him. And the fact that the Colts opted for Matt Ryan over Mayfield possibly will be the bucket of ice water that gets Mayfield to do the kind of soul searching that will help him propel a career at a crossroads toward the right direction.