Browns were more done with Baker Mayfield than most of us thought – Terry Pluto – cleveland.com

Browns were more done with Baker Mayfield than most of us thought – Terry Pluto – cleveland.com
Uncategorized

CLEVELAND, Ohio – For the Browns, the courtship of Deshaun Watson is about more than looking for an upgrade at quarterback.

It’s saying the team is done with Baker Mayfield, Watson or no Watson.

It’s almost impossible to bring him back now. Mayfield certainly wants out after all this. But instead of demanding a trade, he simply issued a warm goodbye on social media.

Why would he want to return?

At some point last season, the Browns must have decided Mayfield isn’t their guy – or at least, they were strongly leaning in that direction. It makes me wonder why they didn’t play backup Case Keenum in some of those late-season games when it was obvious Mayfield was hurt and ineffective.

So many things about the Browns and Mayfield during the 2021 season remain confusing.

But not now.

The Browns want to start over at QB. They don’t want Mayfield back with one year left on his contract. They also don’t want to extend his deal, and then wonder why they did so in a few years.

That’s what happened after Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Jimmy Garoppolo received wealthy QB extensions. None of them have worked out.

IT’S A VERY STRANGE WORLD

I’m on record of not “going all in” on Watson. And if the Browns do work a deal for the Houston QB, that’s exactly what they are doing. The price tag will be high, including multiple first-round picks and others players/picks.

Houston has required teams to send them trade offers before being given permission to talk to Watson. The Texans wanted to make sure they would have an acceptable deal with any team selected by Watson.

So the Browns do have a deal in place for Watson if Watson wants to deal with Cleveland.

Only in the modern world of sports would you have a player who missed all of 2021 because of possible legal problems in this power position. No criminal charges will be filed against Watson, but he still has 22 civil suits having to do with sexual conduct hanging over him.

This same player is likely to be suspended for several games this season. He has four years and $156 million left on his contract – along with no-trade clause. So if you trade for him, he will have control over where he goes if you decide to deal him later.

Despite all that, four teams have set up meetings with Watson – basically begging him to play for them.

I know it’s business, but it’s still unsavory. I know other players have had bigger personal and/or legal problems than Watson, but I don’t like the idea of him being the face of the franchise.

If this were five years later and Watson had no more problems…good.

Trading massive draft capital for a player who comes with this much baggage right now is too heavy a price for me.

But not for Carolina, New Orleans, Atlanta and the Browns. The Browns are the only AFC team in the Watson bidding. Houston may not want to deal Watson to a team in its own conference.

CASE KEENUM

Could Case Keemum be back in 2020 and Baker Mayfield gone? Joshua Gunter, cleveland.com

WHAT ABOUT BAKER MAYFIELD?

Before starting this process, the Browns must have a good idea of Mayfield’s trade value. There are several QB-desperate teams willing to take a chance on him.

A team such as the Colts or one of those turned down by Watson could say, “In 2018 and 2020, Baker was healthy and pretty good. Let’s get him healthy and see if he can do that again.”

Meanwhile, if the Browns fail to obtain Watson, then what?

My wife Roberta said, “Maybe they play Case Keenum and draft a quarterback.”

Keenum is under contract for 2022. The Browns have the No. 13 pick in a weak QB draft. Maybe they like someone.

Or they trade for another quarterback. Or sign one.

Who’d have guessed Keenum could be back in 2022 while Mayfield is gone.

But that’s one of many things most of us never saw coming even a few days ago.

RECENT TERRY PLUTO COLUMNS

Why I’m not a big fan of going all in on Deshaun Watson

The remarkable rise of Cleveland native and Akron star Enrique Freeman

MAC Basketball: It should be about more than a single NCAA bid

Akron going to the NCAA’s? How did that happen?

Talkin’ To Myself: I can’t take any more Cavs injuries!

Browns make a wise, bold move with Amari Cooper

MLB’s new labor agreement: The good, the bad and how it impacts the Guardians

Case Western’s amazing rise: Memories of a deceased father, a local kid delivers.

How Cleveland State went from four players to two Horizon League titles

Can we have a rational discussion about the Browns and QBs? – Terry’s Talkin’

What’s behind the recent Cavs struggles? – Terry Pluto’s scribbles

Sincerely, Kent State has a good shot to win the MAC Tournament

On to Oshkosh! Case Western Reserve’s record-setting team heads to its first NCAA tournament.

Expansion team approach? Baker talk. Terry Pluto’s Browns Scribbles

Browns Scribbles: What to do in the first round?

Hey Terry, how about a college QB from Cincy?