Sacked: Mayfield waits as Browns seek unwanted QB trade

CLEVELAND (AP) — Baker Mayfield was once the No. 1 overall draft pick. He doesn’t like anyone at the moment.

He is a quarterback without a team.

Cleveland’s starter over the past four seasons, Mayfield lost his job last week when the Browns pulled a trade that rocked the NFL by getting three-time pro bowler Deshan Watson in Houston for sexual assault by 22 women. .

With Watson arriving any day to take over as Cleveland’s franchise QB, Mayfield, who requested a trade last week after feeling betrayed by the Browns, is leaving.

When and where he is going is yet to be decided.

The quarterback market has dried up this week, with multiple trades and free agent signings eliminating a potential landing spot for Mayfield, who looks to resurrect his career after a grueling 2021 season.

It’s a surprise fall for Mayfield, the top pick in 2018 that propelled the Browns to the playoffs in 2020 and seemed to have finally resolved the franchise’s two-decade-long search for a swashbuckling quarterback.

He was the face of the city toasty Cleveland. Progressive insurance ads were a hit with him and his wife, Emily, living inside First Energy Stadium.

Even a week earlier, Mayfield still seemed in position to play a fifth season at Cleveland, before Watson was persuaded to waive his no-trade clause when the Browns paid him a record $230 million full deal. Well guaranteed contract.

Mayfield walked out the door from under the center – in an instant.

After the Watson trade was announced, Mayfield was in need of a new football home, and Indianapolis appeared to be a possibility for Mayfield. But the Colts didn’t take an interest and traded for Atlanta veteran Matt Ryan. The Falcons then signed free agent Marcus Mariota, closing the door to another potential boyfriend for Mayfield.

The New Orleans Saints decided to re-sign Jameis Winston, erasing another option for Mayfield.

Seattle remains a potential destination for Mayfield. But the Seahawks, who are making a fresh start after recently signing Russell Wilson to Denver, want to try Drew Locke first and perhaps draft a young QB to back him.

It’s all left to Mayfield.

He is due to earn $18.8 million next season, and his contract makes it nearly impossible for the Browns to find a business partner. No team is prepared to pay such a huge price for a backup quarterback, no matter one with shoulder surgery, shoddy weather, and image problems.

There is a possibility that Cleveland could pay a substantial portion of Mayfield’s salary or throw in a draft pick just to get rid of him.

At this point, a quick separation would be ideal for both parties.

Unfortunately, this can drag on for some time.

One positive for Mayfield, as it has been emphasized several times over the past week, is that the quarterback’s roulette wheel often spins and he’ll have a chance elsewhere—eventually. Things keep happening. Quarterback’s depth charts are frequently changing due to injuries, trades and performance.

He will get another chance to start somewhere. But before that, Mayfield may have to work harder and be someone’s backup.

Mayfield has shown that he is a capable QB and at times better than him. He is 29-30 as a starter and runs for more than 3,000 yards each season. He followed a record-setting rookie season with a clunker in Year 2, but he worked on his game, came back and played well in 2020.

Last year went sideways for Mayfield and Brown when the 26-year-old suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder in Week 2. Mayfield knocks it out and gets hurt. But in doing so, he exposed several on-field shortcomings – his size, inability to make decisions and avoid pressure.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s messy exit briefly revived Mayfield. But it wasn’t long before he was forcing passes in double coverage and taking sacks he couldn’t escape.

There was also a major break-up with coach Kevin Stefansky. Mayfield publicly questioned Stefanski’s play-calling, and even though he had valid reasons for criticism, it was a bad look for him and the team. It also outlined a troubled relationship between the quarterback and the coach.

Mayfield’s image may need as much overhaul as his mechanics.

The two-time college walk-on who won the 2017 Heisman Trophy while playing for Oklahoma has to prove himself again.

It won’t happen in Cleveland.

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