Baker Mayfield Won't Attend NFL Draft
The one downside of the NFL Draft moving all around the country is we've seen a significant number of prospects start declining to join in the festivities. That will be the case with Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield for the 2018 NFL Draft, despite it taking place right there in his backyard.
Mayfield, an Austin, Texas native, will not be attending the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, based on what he told Newy Scruggs of NBC Dallas in a recent interview.
It's a surprising move in the sense that Mayfield could get to Arlington pretty easily and he could invite his friends and family and load up the place with his supporters to see him getting drafted.
On the other hand, it would be easy to see a situation where there are a bunch of lathered up Cowboys fans at AT&T Stadium for the draft, with most of them also serving as either Texas fans, Texas Tech fans or Texas A&M fans. Put another way: there will be literally thousands of people who greatly dislike the Oklahoma Sooners, where Mayfield did his damage as a college quarterback. (He transferred from Texas Tech, making it even more painful for Red Raiders fans.)
That's not an exact science by any means, and it's possible there are a ton of Sooners-Cowboys fans as well. But if you're Mayfield, you run the risk of being booed heavily near your hometown, which sounds less than appetizing.
Plus, there is no concrete landing spot for Mayfield in terms of the draft. We think he'll be a top-10 pick -- I projected him to go to the Broncos in my first mock draft of the season and to the Jets in my second rendition (dropping Tuesday morning!) -- but he could fall. Aaron Rodgers fell in the draft and suffered a nightmare experience in the green room. Anyone can fall in the draft, especially in a situation where there are a lot of quarterbacks on the board -- teams need them and usually trade up, but it's possible Mayfield is sitting on camera for a long time.
His stop point might be No. 11 though. The Dolphins don't appear to be making any bones about their interest in Mayfield, and have scheduled a pre-Pro Day dinner with the former Oklahoma quarterback, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
The interest could be mutual: Mayfield used the hashtag #GetMeToMiami during a Kenny Stills Instagram live video (whew, it is definitely 2018, huh?) and it caused people to freak the geek out over his perceived interest in the Dolphins. Mayfield later reminded everyone he would play wherever, that he was just supporting his fellow former Sooner.
Miami already has Ryan Tannehill, who missed 2017 with a torn ACL, on the roster and Adam Gase is, by all accounts, a fan of Tannehill. But the Dolphins can save a lot of money in terms of cap space if they move on from Tannehill this offseason: he has a cap hit of $19.8 million and would count only $4.6 million against the cap if cut (they can save a whopping $17.5 million if he's a post-June 1 release).
That sets up nicely for the Dolphins to proceed with the status quo through free agency and then potentially jump on a guy like Mayfield if he is there at 11. Again, no guarantee he is. They could move on from Tannehill or give him one more shot in 2018 while letting Mayfield learn on the bench. If released after the 2018 season, Tannehill would free up $18 million in cap space.
So Miami can toe the line a little bit on this one. They are endorsing Tannehill as the starter.
But like any smart organization, they can also window shop for other quarterbacks. It would be a disservice to blindly trudge forward with Tannehill as the only option at quarterback. And Tannehill knows he isn't guaranteed anything -- but he also might see a situation where he could use this year to really sell himself to the market if the Dolphins do decide to draft a quarterback early.
It's just another reminder how volatile the quarterback market is heading into the 2018 offseason.