ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported on ESPN, via Will Brinson, that it appears the Browns and QB Baker Mayfield are “breaking up” regardless of whether Cleveland is successful in its pursuit of Texans QB Deshaun Watson.
Mortensen adds the Browns “want an adult” at quarterback and to keep an eye out for 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo as a Plan B.
The notoriously prickly Mayfield had issues with the team at the end of last season that were smoothed over. But things were apparently reinflamed with the news of Cleveland’s pursuit of Watson, meeting with him in Houston Tuesday.
Mayfield posted what sounded like a goodbye letter on Twitter Tuesday night.
With many uncertainties, here is where my head and heart is. pic.twitter.com/psipN96cmh
— Baker Mayfield (@bakermayfield) March 16, 2022
Dianna Russini says Mayfield was not informed by the team of their pursuit of Watson. She adds at this point, the former No. 1 pick will want to consider his options elsewhere. There is expected to be trade interest from other teams.
Jeff Howe reports if the Browns land Watson, they plan to work with Mayfield to find his next team. He lists the Colts, Saints, Seahawks and Panthers as potential landing spots.
Cleveland had publicly and privately stood by Mayfield and was not planning to add a veteran to compete with him in 2022. The situation has obviously changed and it feels like momentum is building toward Mayfield’s exit from Cleveland.
The plan had been for Mayfield to play out his fifth-year option in Cleveland in 2022, with the franchise tag available should the Browns need it in 2023.
Mayfield, 26, was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick out of Oklahoma in 2018. He’s in the fourth year of a four-year, $32.68 million rookie deal that included a $21.85 million signing bonus.
The Browns exercised Mayfield’s fifth-year option which will cost Cleveland $18.858 million fully guaranteed in 2022.
In 2021, Mayfield appeared in 14 games and completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown.
We’ll have more on the Browns and Mayfield as the news is available.