When Houston traded Deshaun Watson to Cleveland last month, the Texans showed little interest in Baker Mayfield, explicitly requesting he not be part of the deal. Something must have changed between then and now because, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, the Texans are “exploring” trades for Mayfield as well as Niners veteran Jimmy Garoppolo. Per Howe, the Texans could even be a dark horse for Malik Willis (they hold the 37th pick) after his surprising snub in Round 1.
Third-round pick Davis Mills exceeded expectations as a rookie, contributing 16 touchdowns with a 66.8 completion percentage in his debut season. The Texans are reportedly “comfortable” with Mills entering the year as their starter and never considered drafting a quarterback with either of their first-round picks (third and 15th overall).
However, with a daunting 2022 schedule with matchups against Kansas City, Dallas, Miami and Philadelphia, Houston may prefer someone more experienced. Mayfield, a four-year starter in Cleveland, fits that mold, as does Garoppolo. Despite having an in with Garoppolo, who GM Nick Caserio knows from their time together in New England, Mayfield is seen—at least for the moment—as more attainable, with San Francisco commanding an arm and a leg in trade talks for Jimmy G. Both quarterbacks are coming off shoulder injuries, which has no doubt impacted their respective trade markets.
Mayfield, who did not attend OTAs last week, could also be of interest to the Seahawks and Panthers, neither of whom drafted a quarterback in the first round. To help facilitate a trade, it’s believed the Browns are willing to pay a portion of Mayfield’s $18.86-million salary in 2022, which happens to be his final year under contract.
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