Browns Send Strong Message on Baker Mayfield’s Future

Baker Mayfield

Getty Images Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns are in a unique situation with disgruntled quarterback Baker Mayfield and all sides are hoping for a quick resolution.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski spoke on the team’s situation with Mayfield during his media availability at the NFL owners’ meetings in Palm Beach, Florida.

“I think we’ll see,” Stefanski said on Monday, March 28. “I think everybody understands the situation. We’re hoping that there’s closure to it at some point.”

That closure could still be a ways away unless the Browns change their strategy in trying to deal Mayfield. His nearly $19 million salary has made it tough to find a trade partner, let alone get anything back in return for the No. 1 overall pick.

It’s important for the Browns to get Mayfield’s contract off the books so they can proceed with their offseason and continue to build the roster around newly-acquired QB Deshaun Watson.

“We’ve got to see how it plays out,” Stefanski said. “I think of all of us would love an answer yesterday, but that’s not the reality of it.”

Browns Preparing for Possibility of Watson Suspension

Kevin Stefanski Press Conference at Owner's MeetingsHead coach Kevin Stefanski addressed the media at the owner's meetings on March 28, 2022. #BrownsMedia #PressConference2022-03-28T20:01:48Z

There were rumors that the Browns could decide to hold on to Mayfield in hopes of starting him if Watson does get suspended by the NFL under terms of the league’s Personal Conduct Policy in connection with 22 civil lawsuits by massage therapists accusing him of sexual misconduct.

But from Stefanski’s statement, it sounds like the Browns have no intention of that and will instead rely upon veteran backup Jacoby Brissett.

“That’s something we’ve spoken about,” Stefanski said. “Until we know that final answer — we’re speaking in hypotheticals right now — but we’ve got to be ready whenever a decision is made, potentially to go with Jacoby, or not. So we’ll wait and see what the league has.”

That being said, the NFL has been mum on what the punishment for Watson could be and Stefanski expects his new quarterback to be at the Browns’ offseason program next month.

“I do expect Deshaun to be there April [18] with everybody else,” Stefanski said. “And you know, I haven’t had an offseason yet with players. Year One was COVID; Year Two as you know was a little bit different. So looking forward to having a normal offseason.”

Stefanski Sees Changes Coming With Watson at QB

Mayfield and Stefanski clashed at times over play-calling, with the outspoken QB even calling it out publicly on occasion. Stefanski calls the plays on offense and appears open to changing things up with Watson behind center.

“It’s really important that the quarterback knows where you’re going as a play-caller, why that play is being called,” Stefanski said. “That just comes from meetings and being around each other and practices. So that’s something we can’t just skip any steps to get there. You have to work at that in the meeting room and on the practice field.”

Watson sat out all of last season but earned a trio of consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl prior to that. Watson led the NFL in passing yards in 2020, throwing for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns. He tossed just seven interceptions and added 444 yards and three scores with his legs.

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