It is supposed to be about adding key and future pieces to each NFL team’s roster.
And by that measure, Andrew Berry and the Cleveland Browns probably did all right in the 2022 NFL Draft.
But a headline or narrative keeps popping up about their failure to address one major issue.
Baker Mayfield is still on the Cleveland Browns roster, along with his $18.8 million salary.
— Panthers Cove (@panthers_cove) May 1, 2022
If you watched or followed the NFL Draft on Saturday, you might be surprised.
After all, it seemed every pundit thought trading Mayfield was the most urgent topic for Cleveland to address.
But rumors of “heated up” talk and “smoke” and ‘rumblings” with the Panthers proved to be just that- rumors.
As Browns insider, Terry Pluto reports, Andrew Berry was never close to making a deal with Carolina.
Cleveland in an Impossible Situation
Cleveland is in a tough spot when it comes to Mayfield and his release.
The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement does not allow them to renegotiate his contract.
There will be no secret meeting and mutual agreement with Mayfield’s people to let him slide away.
And if you believe other NFL scuttlebutt, Jimmy Haslam’s fellow owners are in no mood to assist the Browns.
NFL owners can punish the Cleveland Browns by refusing to trade for Baker Mayfield https://t.co/LXCMlBwHd3
— Sportskeeda Pro Football (@SKProFootball) April 22, 2022
Cleveland broke a cardinal rule of the NFL clan: they handed out a 100%-guaranteed contract to Deshaun Watson.
Owners and GMs can shriek all they want about how Watson was “the wrong guy” to do that with.
But the fact is there is no right guy,, the owners just want to maintain owner-friendly, no risk control of its stars.
And teams are not negotiating as much as waiting, in hope that the Browns cut bait and make Mayfield a free agent.
Carolina Was An Over-Rated Option
The notion that Carolina was a great landing spot for Mayfield came from a narrow Xs and Os viewpoint.
Mayfield, especially an angry Mayfield, is likely to be a better player than Sam Darnold or Matt Corral in 2022.
But when Mayfield first demanded a trade, Carolina rather emphatically said they were not interested.
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) July 16, 2018
Offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo, graded Mayfield behind Darnold, Josh Rosen, and Mason Rudolph in the 2018 NFL Draft.
And, according to the Terry Pluto story, Carolina stopped trade talks before the end of Friday night.
McAdoo is trying to rebuild his NFL star after getting railroaded by the NY Giants a few years ago.
Along with a head coach and GM on the hot seat, adding a moody Mayfield to that mix was never a good idea.
Blame Misplaced On Browns?
Andrew Berry is taking a lot of public heat for mishandling the Mayfield situation.
But there was really no other way for this to play out short of trading Mayfield before securing his replacement.
Berea’s company line remains positive on Baker Mayfield’s attributes and potential.
In their opinion, they took the opportunity to improve at the quarterback position, nothing more.
Andrew Berry says on the @WEWS #Browns Live Draft Special that "anything is possible" in regards to a Baker Mayfield trade this weekend, reiterating that the situation remains "fluid" and they'll "deal with it day to day."
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) April 28, 2022
And they were otherwise ready to move forward with Mayfield as their starter in 2022.
But when a national writer opined that the Browns wanted “an adult” in the quarterback room, it muffled that narrative.
Suddenly, the Browns were “anti-Baker” and destroyed his career with their negative statements.
And that is not helping Mayfield’s trade market in the least.