No one should be surprised that Mayfield’s name came up during the pre-draft press conference.
Berry spent the winter months saying that Mayfield was the Browns QB1 for 2022 even as recently as the NFL Combine in early March.
The #Browns and Baker Mayfield's reps met at the #NFLCombine as scheduled on Thursday, and reinforced the Browns plans to start him in '22 and not replace him with a veteran, sources tell clevelanddotcom https://t.co/7BuV3XWktb
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 3, 2022
That changed abruptly when Deshaun Watson became available, and the Browns ultimately acquired Watson on March 18.
Fast forward to last week and Mayfield’s YNK podcast appearance.
He was asked if he felt disrespected by the Browns, and he answered yes.
Baker Mayfield on the @ynk_podcast: “I feel disrespected — 100%. Because I was told one thing and they completely did another. That’s what I’m in the middle of right now. I've had 4 different head coaches in four years. A bunch of different coordinators." pic.twitter.com/wMlkNy6N3D
— Ari Meirov (@AriMeirov) April 13, 2022
Berry Understands Mayfield’s Feelings
On Friday, Berry looked a lot more comfortable than the last time we saw him, at Deshaun Watson’s introductory press conference on March 25.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) April 22, 2022
Responding to Mayfield feeling disrespected, Berry said:
“I think I have touched on this previously that we were transparent with our intentions with [Mayfield’s] reps. That being said, I think we can all understand how Baker feels, and sometimes things in the NFL, whether it is team related, coach related or player related, they may not work out. Baker is a competitive and driven young man who has had success as a quarterback and will continue to have success as a quarterback, so definitely understand it.”
He declined to discuss trade opportunities for Mayfield.
Berry reiterated today that the Browns were open with Mayfield’s people, but in late March at the NFL owners’ meetings, he expressed one regret about the situation.
“Quite honestly, if there’s probably one thing that I would regret or kind of go back [and do] differently, when we had been notified that we were one of the teams that Deshaun wanted to meet with, late that Monday night, we set up the visit. I had set up a call for Baker’s representation the following morning. The news got out before I was able to make that call.”
Both Berry and Coach Stefanski should be prepared to answer Mayfield questions so long as he is on the roster.
Everyone has his or her own opinion as to whether the Browns handled the Mayfield situation appropriately and made the correct decisions.
Until Mayfield is traded or released, the Browns will not be able to completely move on from the persistent scrutiny of how this was handled.