AP Photo/Tony Dejak
Since the Cleveland Browns acquired star quarterback Deshaun Watson, Baker Mayfield’s departure appears imminent.
Mayfield has made it clear that he wants a fresh start elsewhere, but the Browns have yet to comply with his desire. According to ESPN, the Oklahoma product has been excused from mandatory minicamp next week.
The team said Wednesday that it was a “mutual decision and best for both parties.”
Mayfield is current in the fifth-year option of his rookie contract making roughly more than $19 million. The Browns haven’t shown any urgency to move him ahead of the 2022 season, which the franchise could hold onto him as a backup option if no movement occurs.
However, it would make the most sense for the Browns to move him to acquire assets before his contract expires next offseason. Cleveland’s lack of movement may be due to the potential league punishment that Watson is facing due to his legal issues.
Those problems have become further complicated after a 24th civil lawsuit was filed against him. It’s unclear whether that will factor into the NFL investigation into the other legal issues.
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If Watson receives punishment, it’s likely the Browns could turn to Mayfield to fill in a spot start role until the Pro Bowler is eligible to return.
Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks have long been circled as a possible landing spot due to their quarterback situation after Russell Wilson’s departure. The Seahawks appear willing to move forward with Drew Lock receiving the first shot to prove he can be a viable option.