Browns GM Says Team Was 'Transparent' with Baker Mayfield About Deshaun Watson Trade

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIApril 22, 2022

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield walks off the field after the Browns defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 21-16 in an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
AP Photo/David Richard

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry told reporters Friday that the team was "transparent" with quarterback Baker Mayfield regarding its intentions to pursue Houston Texans signal-caller Deshaun Watson.

"We were transparent with our intentions with his reps," Berry said.

"That being said, I think we can all understand how Baker feels. Sometimes, things in the NFL—whether it's team-related, coach-related, player-related, they may not work out. Baker is a competitive and driven young man who has had success as a quarterback and will continue to have success as a quarterback, so (I) definitely understand it."

That isn't how Mayfield feels based on his comments during an appearance with the YNK podcast earlier in April.

Mayfield said he felt "disrespected" and that he "was told one thing and they completely did another," (h/t ESPN's Jake Trotter).

The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner is still a Brown, but it appears to be a matter of time before Cleveland trades the four-year veteran and officially moves into the Watson era.

News that Mayfield had felt disrespected isn't new, but the podcast appearance was the first time that it was on the record.

Trotter wrote a piece in March detailing how the relationship between the Browns and Mayfield went south.

Winding back to February, Berry reportedly told the Mayfield camp that the team could pursue an All-Pro-level quarterback such as Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers or Deshaun Watson.

That news didn't irk Mayfield so much as hearing on social media that the team was flying to Houston to court Watson.

"They didn’t inform Baker ahead of time, just as a courtesy," a source told Trotter. "It played out so publicly, it was just very insulting. ... It really angered Baker."

A team source also told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that the team wanted "an adult" at quarterback. One day after that report broke, Mayfield requested a trade.

"It’s in the mutual interest of both sides for us to move on," Mayfield told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

"The relationship is too far gone to mend. It's in the best interests of both sides to move on."

They will be moving on after the Browns landed Watson. At this juncture, it would seem likely that Cleveland would have a clearer idea of the best landing spot for Mayfield after the draft, although the quarterback said on the podcast that the Seattle Seahawks are the "most likely option."