When the Cleveland Browns sued QB Deshaun Watson, their former starting quarterback demanded a trade. Even before Watson picked the Browns, Mayfield was determined to move on. From everything the Browns have said publicly and, it seems, to their agents, the team was only interested in either seeking an upgrade or returning with Mayfield.
Once Cleveland finalized the trade for Watson and gave him a huge new contract, Mayfield’s days with the team were clearly numbered.
Recovering from surgery with a guaranteed year remaining on his contract, the Browns found no takers for the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. It looked like general manager Andrew Berry had no leverage to try and make a trade for the team’s former first-round pick.
Berry held firm to his expectations, including failing to meet the demands of the Carolina Panthers during trade negotiations during the NFL Draft. It looked like Cleveland would only regain leverage if/when another team’s quarterback got hurt.
Then a report came out that the Panthers had some urgency to get a deal done. This week, a report came out that the Seattle Seahawks are still interested and may even extend the quarterback.
All of a sudden, Berry had two teams that would now be interested.
Also this week, reports surfaced that the NFL was considering a lengthy suspension of at least a year for Watson. Although it seems unlikely that Mayfield and the Browns will ever reunite, Berry can honestly say he’s the team’s best quarterback if Watson is out for the year.
A few weeks ago, it looked like Mayfield might end up making a save somewhere. This week, Seattle, Carolina and even Cleveland (we highly doubt that’s possible but it’s not impossible either) might want him as their starting QB for 2022.
Berry and the Browns have some leverage, perhaps for the first time, in Mayfield’s trade talks.