Browns' Baker Mayfield requests trade; Cleveland has no plans to trade QB

Stepping into greener grass has produced internal strife in Cleveland.

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has requested a trade, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Thursday. Cleveland does not plan to honor Mayfield’s request, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported.

Mayfield’s request comes on the heels of Cleveland’s fruitless pursuit of Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, an effort that included the team’s brass flying to Texas to meet with Watson in an attempt to convince him to waive his no-trade clause and agree to be sent to the Browns. As the courting — which also included the Saints, Panthers and Falcons — became increasingly apparent, Mayfield could no longer stay silent amid the noise, posting an emotional letter Tuesday to Browns fans via social media in which he reminded folks of his dedication to the franchise while also thanking those who have supported him.

Now, after the Browns were eliminated from Watson’s consideration, Mayfield isn’t ready to hug it out. His trade request signals a burned bridge between the quarterback and the franchise, but he doesn’t have an exit route if the Browns don’t honor his request.

Mayfield is under contract through 2022 thanks to the fifth-year option in his rookie contract. Cleveland hasn’t made any significant effort to re-sign Mayfield to a long-term extension, and Mayfield’s performance in 2021 — albeit a season in which he played through multiple injuries — did nothing to convince the Browns to keep him beyond 2022.

Naturally, Cleveland’s pursuit of Watson didn’t make Mayfield feel wanted. Now he and his representation are responding to being left behind while the Browns explored a better option.

In the Browns’ defense, the team’s brass told Mayfield’s agents they’d only explore top-tier quarterbacks such as Watson, per Garafolo. By that logic, the resulting chase shouldn’t have surprised Mayfield or his agents.

But Mayfield has been known to bite back against criticism, and there’s no stronger statement of how an employer feels about its employee than by openly searching for his replacement.

It will be up to the Browns to attempt to repair the bridge between the club and the quarterback they once selected No. 1 overall in the 2018 draft. If they can’t work things out, Cleveland’s quarterback carousel — once a high-speed machine that’s been dormant since 2018 — will shake off the rust and resume spinning.

Mayfield, meanwhile, will prepare to trade his brown-and-orange gear for colors of a different franchise. It just might not become a reality until 2023.

Source: Read Full Article