Baker Mayfield will likely leave the Cleveland Browns soon.
As it stands at noon on Tuesday, the Cleveland Browns are about to start a bidding war with the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and the Carolina Panthers (huh, Tommy Brady scares them that bad?) for the services of Deshaun Watson. Mary Kay Cabot was the first to report (and deserves some respect) that the Browns were pursuing Watson, who is going to meet with the Browns today. You know, after he gives a deposition in his civil case where 22 women are suing him. This all but assures that Baker Mayfield is done in Cleveland, whether it’s in an eventual trade or after the year is over.
Let’s be clear about some things, firstly, moving on from Mayfield isn’t the issue. The issue, at least for me, has always been the replacements. Quarterbacks are like spouses, you want one you can grow old with. You don’t want some fling that will be over in a few months or years. Especially if you have to invest heavily in them. You also want one that is age-appropriate to your needs. If you have a five-to-seven-year window, you don’t want one who’s going to be gone in two.
Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Matt Ryan all have the same issues; age. For Rodgers, it was also his attitude. Yeah, you could “upgrade” the position, but more than likely the team would just be looking for another quarterback in a year or two.
Then you had names like Mitch Trubisky, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Carson Wentz, lateral moves if there ever were ones.
So there’s no real upgrade. If guys like Ryan and Wilson were free agents and didn’t cost the team some of its best assets, that’d be a more manageable discussion. Yet, as Browns fans, the past events surrounding the quarterback position are a major trigger. It hasn’t been for the last four years, not authentically anyway, thanks to Mayfield. Why move on if you finally have stability; even if he isn’t “elite”?
Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski have decided to move on from him. That’s fine.
Secondly, if the Browns fail to land Watson, who’s still facing possible suspensions and lord knows what else is in that man’s closet, Mayfield could just walk away by demanding to be traded or released. If he’s the problem, keep Case Keenum, let Mayfield walk, and prove that the system is bigger than the player.
Thirdly, if a guy like Bruce Arians wants you, it’s a sign you have something to offer, and before Brady returned, the Buccaneers were serious about Mayfield.
Fourthly, for the Browns to be interviewing Watson on the day of his deposition is the most Browns thing I’ve ever seen. Which is about what I’m starting to expect from Berry. That’s a different story for a different day.
“The Browns is the Browns”
Andrew Berry said Mayfield was the guy. He said that weeks ago. Now, here we are, possibly mortgaging our draft future for a guy who many don’t want on their team. Let’s clear something up about that too, the grand jury decided to not indict him; not because they thought he was innocent but because they didn’t think there was enough evidence. Those are not the same things.
When 22 people accuse you of something, that’s a problem. When you, being Watson, admit that all 22 events happened but it was “consensual”, then you really have a problem. When you’re deposed for five hours but plead the fifth every time, that’s damning. Just because he’s not found guilty by a court doesn’t make him innocent.
No normal people propositions strangers for sexual favors. No one without severe issues. The best you can hope for is that he’s a sex addict who can’t control himself, and at worst he’s a sexual predator who got away with it. Either way, he’ll likely be in trouble again. How many more times do we have to cite guys like Johnny Manziel, Josh Gordon, and Malik McDowell as examples for why teams should avoid people like Watson?
This is not something that just goes away.
The Browns front office, which many thoughts was so shiny and new, is starting to show some serious issues and cracks in the foundation. They let Mayfield play hurt, they didn’t move on from Beckham when they took over (despite him reportedly not wanting to be there at any point), they over-paid for Austin Hooper, signed McDowell despite a lifetime of reasons not to, they drafted the wrong tackle, and the head coach has shown to have some serious issues with personnel management.
2022 is going to be a very interesting year. Let’s hope the Browns don’t give up six-draft picks, Mayfield, Kareem Hunt (he can go), Greg Newsome and lord knows what else, for Watson, only for him to be suspended for 2022.
That would be a fireable offense.