Head coach Kevin Stefanski kept with that trend on Monday when he was asked by reporters about Mayfield’s situation heading into the first mandatory minicamp of the offseason, which is scheduled for next week at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Stefanski first announced the location of the mandatory work, which prompted the questions about his polarizing former starter under center. The coach then addressed Mayfield’s participation, or lack thereof, in those coming activities by not actually addressing it at all.
Stefanski responded with a “no comment” to inquiries on whether Mayfield would join new quarterbacks Deshaun Watson, Jacoby Brissett and Josh Dobbs as part of team workouts, per Pro Football Talk. It is a decision that has serious implications for both the Browns organization and Mayfield himself.
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Moment of Truth Coming For Mayfield, Browns as Mandatory Work Approaches
Both the franchise and its former quarterback will be forced to show their cards sooner than later, as the minicamp is set for June 14-16. Mayfield skipped voluntary workouts earlier this offseason but if he decides not to show next week, it will cost him $95,000 of the nearly $19 million he is guaranteed this season after Cleveland picked up his fifth-year option, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
That extensive salary has been the sticking point in trade discussions around Mayfield with both the Seattle Seahawks and the Carolina Panthers, as those teams want the Browns to pony up the majority of the cash in exchange for taking the QB’s contract and the headache caused by his presence on the roster off Cleveland’s hands.
To this point, the Browns have bucked at the notion, and staring contests as well as alternate maneuvering — the Panthers trading up into the third round of the NFL Draft to select Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, for instance — have ensued.
Compromise Between Browns, Mayfield Exists That Could Bridge Gap And Buy Time
The Browns don’t want Mayfield around, that much is clear, but they don’t want to give him away and aren’t willing to actively pay for him to depart — at least not yet. Mayfield wants no part of an organization he doesn’t believe values him or has been honest in its dealings with him, but there’s no way he’s giving up his money.
Cabot suggested that one solution could be to allow Mayfield to workout at team facilities but to do so separate from his teammates, particularly Watson and Brissett. That solution would be a compromise that would allow Mayfield to earn his paychecks without causing any disruption to the team.
Of course, there would be a daily media circus as Mayfield’s status would continue to be covered ad nauseam, though it might be the only option until the Browns’ trade price for Mayfield comes down — either through a change of heart on the part of the Panthers or Seahawks, or an injury to the starting quarterback for another franchise that then begins looking for a bonafide starting-caliber QB to rescue its season from the brink.