It appears that Baker Mayfield’s time at the Cleveland Browns is set to come to something of a messy end, and the quarterback isn’t happy about the situation, to say the least.
The 27-year-old was expecting to be the starter for the coming season, but the Browns had other ideas as they opted to bring in DeShaun Watson from the Houston Texans on a five-year deal worth a cool $230 million.
The move to bring in Watson may make the prospect of backing Cleveland as the best odds to win the Super Bowl in 2022-23, where clearly the return on such a bet would be incredibly high. The FirstEnergy Stadium team is now (+2000) for glory, which makes them a decent outside chance.
Mayfield hasn’t taken the news well and has been very outspoken in his response, stating;
“I feel disrespected,”
“One-hundred percent because I was told one thing, and they completely did another. That’s what I’m in the middle of right now. I got my taste of it because I’ve had four different head coaches in four years, a bunch of different coordinators.
“Talk about the highs? They always come back. They always come back. But I’ve had great times in my rookie year. I didn’t start in the beginning. I came in and got to have fun in the back half of the year. 2019 sucked. 2020 was great, made the playoffs. 2021 was miserable.”
The Heisman Trophy winner has spent four seasons with the Browns, and last year’s numbers back up his assertion that 2021 was miserable. He managed just 17 passing touchdowns in 14 games, some way below his best years, and that’s no doubt why Cleveland decided to move for a replacement.
Clearly, it’s not pleasant for Mayfield, especially if promises were broken, but in many ways, that’s the way the NFL works, and if he wants to find a new employer, he may have to bite the bullet for a few weeks and not deter another suitor coming in for his services.
It appears that Mayfield found out about the situation via the media, which isn’t the greatest way to treat your starting quarterback. On that point, general manager Andrew Berry concedes things could have been handled better;
“We were pretty open with Baker and his camp in terms of how we viewed the position,”
“I will keep those conversations private for obvious reasons. Quite honestly, if there’s probably one thing that I would regret or kind of go back [and do] differently, when he had been notified that we were one of the teams that Deshaun wanted to meet with, late that Monday night, we set up the visit. I had set up a call for Baker’s representation the following morning. The news got out before I was able to make that call.”
“You always hate those types of situations because it kind of gives off an appearance of — that’s never how you want someone to find out about that situation. That’s the one thing I wish I had done a little bit differently. But on the whole, we had been pretty candid in terms of where we stood at the quarterback position really since very early in the offseason.”
So where now for Baker Mayfield? Well, it appears a number of teams are keeping tabs on the Browns player, with the Carolina Panthers being one franchise that has taken an interest.