That was over 90 days ago when the team proclaimed Watson as the franchise quarterback to vault them into the future.
The odd man out was Baker Mayfield.
Though we have heard Coach Stefanski say that the team wants closure, they will not achieve that until Mayfield’s situation is resolved.
As it stands, he is in limbo, and the longer this goes, the worse it is for both the Browns and Mayfield.
1. The Mayfield Situation Is A Distraction
Though Mayfield has stayed quiet and was excused from the mandatory minicamp, it still feels like he is in the building.
His teammates are frequently asked questions about him.
Here’s Joel Bitonio today calling Baker Mayfield “my guy” and praising everything he did for the #Browns. Can we please stop talking about how bad a teammate Baker is? It’s utter nonsense. pic.twitter.com/GJZqFWD7Rt
— Ed Greenberger (@EdGreenberger) June 15, 2022
The Browns have plenty of roster issues and distractions to resolve so as we look ahead to training camp, this is just another one that could and should have been resolved back in March.
Many agree with Robert Griffin III who said the Browns should have had a deal ready for Mayfield as soon as they announced the Watson trade.
— NFL Rumors (@nflrums) April 23, 2022
2. The Browns Are Not Playing Fair
People will say that life is not fair and that Mayfield created some of the drama that led to his ouster.
They will also say that regardless of what happens, he is getting paid his $18.8 million salary this season.
These statements are fact, but that does not excuse the Browns’ mishandling of the situation.
We heard both Stefanski and GM Andrew Berry proclaim Mayfield as the team’s QB1 at the NFL Combine just two weeks before the trade was announced.
It is the team’s prerogative to upgrade at any roster position, but at least give Mayfield the time and opportunity to learn a new offense and compete elsewhere.
Mayfield was part of the organization during some very tough times and was instrumental in getting the Browns to the playoffs during the 2020 season.
Of course, money is an outstanding issue, but money appeared to be no object for Watson’s contract so Mayfield’s salary should be considered a “sunk cost” in accounting circles.
Pay it and move on without the expectation of getting anything in return.
This waiting game is not helpful to anyone.
One of Mayfield’s biggest critics to date, Colin Cowherd, empathizes with the situation he is in and urges Jimmy Haslam to pay him.
According to reports, the Browns are willing to pay half of Baker's salary in a trade…
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) June 20, 2022
When Will The Browns Be Forced Into Making A Decision?
The wait-and-see approach has worked during the offseason, but at some point, the Browns may be forced to make a firm decision on Mayfield.
Most regard the start of training camp as the deadline for a Baker Mayfield trade. However, the sooner it gets done, the better for everyone involved. https://t.co/8s16aA6t7U
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 21, 2022
If no trade offers come in, will they cut him?
It seems extremely unlikely that the Browns want him to come to training camp yet that is where this is headed if the current circumstances continue.