With Deshaun Watson now in the fold, the Cleveland Browns can’t get rid of Baker Mayfield fast enough.
Of course, that’s not what general manager Andrew Berry is saying. Instead, he told reporters the Browns can actually afford to wait. After all, Mayfield is still under contract for next season. And it’s not like the Browns will have Watson right away. He may be suspended by the NFL after more than 20 women accused him of sexual assault.
Plus, right now, the market for Mayfield has proven to be incredibly thin. Most teams already know who their starter will be next season. Or at least have a good idea. So the Browns are sort of in Mayfield limbo. He’s good enough to be a starter, but erratic enough to be relegated to a backup role.
“Baker is a professional, he’s under contract, and we have the [cap] flexibility whether he’s on the roster or not,” Berry said at the league meeting in Florida. “So we don’t really feel pressed to rush into anything that’s suboptimal.”
In other words, the Browns tried to trade Mayfield, to no avail, and are deciding what to do next. They can either lower their asking price, or keep it the same, keep Mayfield, and show teams they are serious about what they seek in return.
But there’s another issue as well. Watson isn’t the only QB the Browns have acquired recently. They also signed Jacoby Brissett in free agency. Brissett has experience with the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins, his most recent team. Reports suggest the Browns would much prefer to play Brissett over Mayfield because Mayfield is on borrowed time in Cleveland.
“I think as we look at the QB room, we have three good players at the most important position in sports,” Berry said. “That’s not to say that there aren’t things that we’re going to work through over the course of the next several months. But I don’t view it as a bad situation at all. We feel like we have three good ones and a lot of teams are looking for one guy, so you don’t mind being deep there and we’ll take it as it goes.”
That’s a good, diplomatic spin by Berry, but it’s not reality and Berry and the Browns know it. Ultimately, the plan is to cut ties with Mayfield before the season. Berry is right that the Browns have a little while before pressure to pull the trigger on a trade truly begins. However, Mayfield simply cannot be on the roster when things get serious. No way.