Schefter: Baker Mayfield Officially Skips Browns' Workouts amid Trade Rumors

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 19, 2022

FILE - Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield stands on the sideline during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Cleveland. With Deshaun Watson due to arrive 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's going is still to be determined. (AP Photo/David Richard, File)
AP Photo/David Richard, File

As expected, quarterback Baker Mayfield was not present for the start of the Cleveland Browns' voluntary offseason workout program on Tuesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Mayfield's absence came on the heels of Cleveland acquiring quarterback Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans last month.

It is virtually guaranteed that the Browns will either trade or release Mayfield, but as of now, he remains part of their roster.

When word first emerged that the Browns were interested in Watson and attempting to trade for him, Mayfield released the following statement:

Baker Mayfield @bakermayfield

With many uncertainties, here is where my head and heart is. <a href="https://t.co/psipN96cmh">pic.twitter.com/psipN96cmh</a>

At that point, it seemed likely that Mayfield and the Browns were headed toward a divorce whether Cleveland was able to land Watson or not.

The 2018 No. 1 overall draft pick showed flashes of brilliance during his time with the Browns, and it felt like a foregone conclusion that a contract extension was coming after what he accomplished in 2020.

Mayfield went 11-5 as a starter that season and completed 62.8 percent of his passes for 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns and a career-low eight interceptions. He also led the Browns to their first playoff berth since 2002 and a Wild Card Round win over the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

Things fell apart for Mayfield and the Browns last season, however, leading to what is now an inevitable split.

In 14 starts, Mayfield went just 6-8 and completed 60.5 percent of his passing attempts for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 picks.

An injury to Mayfield's non-throwing shoulder bothered him throughout the campaign and required offseason surgery, and he dealt with foot and knee injuries. But the Browns weren't willing to see if he could bounce back from his poor 2021 performance.

Now, Mayfield is in limbo since most teams in need of a quarterback have already addressed the position via trade or free agency or likely plan to during the 2022 NFL draft set to begin April 28 in Las Vegas.

Perhaps the only two teams that could offer him a legitimate chance to start next season are the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks.

Carolina has Sam Darnold penciled in as its starter, while the Seahawks have Drew Lock and Geno Smith set to battle it out after trading Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.

Regardless of where he ends up, Mayfield's departure from Cleveland is a mere formality now, which is why his absence comes as no surprise.