Baker Mayfield will wear a Carolina Panthers uniform when training camps open.
And love him or hate him, there is a degree of relief that comes with the resolution of a difficult situation.
Andrew Berry solved the issue of widely varied expectations regarding the Cleveland Browns‘ former #1 draft pick.
Carolina will send the Browns a 2024 NFL Draft pick, either a 3rd, 4th, or 5th rounder depending on playing time.
We have agreed to trade QB Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional 2024 draft pick
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) July 6, 2022
In recent days, the Seattle Seahawks went from making the winning deal to “never that interested” per Ian Rappaport.
And the mystery new team that allegedly stalled a trade to the Great Northwest never materialized.
Berry and the rest of the front office can now concentrate on other matters at hand.
But what exactly is next for the Browns after the Baker Mayfield trade?
There Is This One Other Thing…
Making Baker Mayfield a former Brown only takes half of Cleveland’s offseason intrigue off the table.
Kevin Stefanski remains anxious to know if and for how long Mayfield’s replacement might be unavailable.
NFL watchers think a decision in the Deshaun Watson case could come as early as this weekend.
And competing sources say Watson could get off light, but he could also face an indefinite benching.
.@TomPelissero on @afternoon923FAN on Deshaun Watson: "#Browns don't have clarity and won't until Sue Robinson issues her decision and any appeals are resolved. People who are familiar with the hearing and the case would be surprised if it does end up being a year or more."
— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) July 6, 2022
But there is not much Berry can do about the Watson situation until a decision is announced.
He is not working the phones trying to swing a deal for better lawyers.
It is more likely than not that the team knows what they will do in any scenario regarding their quarterback.
And that can range from sticking with Jacoby Brissett and Josh Dobbs to revealing a deal they have up their sleeve.
But There Are Other Things
Rumors hit social media Tuesday night that a Mayfield deal would happen on Wednesday.
Another topic interspersed with the Mayfield talk was the mutual interest between Ndamukong Suh and the Browns.
Cleveland has a ton of available salary-cap space in 2022, although they want to roll a bunch of it into ’23.
Maybe that’s why Berry would want to wait to finish the Mayfield deal before addressing the veteran inside lineman.
Browns now freed up another $8M in cal space for 2022.
Can we please sign Ndakumong Suh? @NdamukongSuh
— Watson Garrett Stefanski Era 🐶 (@MylesOffTheEdge) July 6, 2022
Right now, the Browns have lots of promising youth, but no proven veteran in between their edge rushers.
Signing Suh gives the Browns a player that rises to the occasion at key moments.
There seems to be a lower chance of signing an additional veteran at wide receiver.
Berry seems confident in the young corps at Stefanski’s disposal, and he will wait to see how training camp goes.
Not Enough Quarterbacks?
If the NFL removes Deshaun Watson from active status for an extended time, Berry will need to make a move.
Cleveland would be left with 2 quarterback candidates heading into the preseason.
Brissett looked good enough in OTAs with no pressure, and Dobbs has virtually no real NFL playing time.
— NFL Rumors (@nflrums) June 29, 2022
If Berry and Stefanski are concerned enough to look for a potential starter, it will probably be by trade.
But that market is slim once you get past Jimmy Garoppolo.
With every passer learning a new system, it’s possible Cleveland rolls with only their 2 Watson backups.
UDFA Felix Harper can return for some snaps, even as Berry’s scouts camp out across the league in August.