Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield posted what reads like a goodbye letter to Cleveland on his Twitter and Instagram accounts on Tuesday night.
Not long after the Browns wrapped up their meeting with Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson on Tuesday night, Mayfield thanked Cleveland and admitted he doesn’t know what his future holds in the NFL.
If the Browns completed a trade for the controversial Watson, they would obviously trade Mayfield to another team.
But even if Watson opts to waive his no-trade clause for one of his other suitors — the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers or Atlanta Falcons — and thus leaves the Browns hanging, Mayfield still likely wants out of Cleveland. .
As of Tuesday night, Mayfield had not requested a trade, a league source told the Akron Beacon Journal, but there are obviously hard feelings about the franchise’s pursuit of Watson.
Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct or sexual assault by two dozen women during massage dates. On Friday, a grand jury decided that Watson would not be criminally charged. He still faces 22 civil lawsuits and a likely suspension from the NFL, but the grand jury declined to indict Watson and began the draft for the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback’s services.
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The Saints and Panthers met with Watson on Monday in Houston before the Browns did the same on Tuesday. The Falcons have a meeting scheduled for Wednesday. NFL Network reported. Each team has been required to submit a trade proposal to the Texans to land a meeting with Watson, ESPN reported.
Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft in 2018, struggled a lot last year when the Browns went 8-9 and missed the playoffs despite starting the season with Super Bowl expectations. He played the vast majority of the season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, suffering in Week 2 and unable to build on his successful 2020 season. He underwent shoulder surgery on January 19.
If the Browns fail to sign Watson and still trade Mayfield, they’ll be looking for another starting quarterback.
Like Watson, the Browns see Las Vegas’ Derek Carr as an upgrade over Mayfield, but the Raiders could commit Carr to a new contract rather than trade him. Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco 49ers) and Gardner Minshew (Philadelphia Eagles) are among the other potential trade targets. Marcus Mariota (Raiders) and Jameis Winston (Saints) remain available in free agency, which officially begins at 4 pm Wednesday.
The Browns also have the 13th pick in the NFL Draft April 28-30 and could be looking for a quarterback sooner than expected. Liberty’s Malik Willis and Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett are widely projected to be first-round picks.
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Mayfield announced on January 25 that he would be taking a self-imposed hiatus from social media due to its “toxic” nature.
But Mayfield was forced Tuesday night to take to social media to distribute this letter to Browns fans, accompanied by the headline “With many uncertainties, this is where my head and heart are”:
“The last 4 years have been nothing short of life changing since I heard my name drafted to go to Cleveland,” Mayfield wrote. “This is not a message with a hidden meaning. It is strictly to thank the city of Cleveland for embracing me and my family. We have made many memories and shared growth in this process through all the ups and downs.
“I have no idea what happens next, what is the meaning behind the silence I have had for the duration of this process. I can only control what I can, which is to trust in God’s plan throughout this process.
“I’ve given this franchise everything I’ve got. That’s something I’ve always done at every stage and at every level. And that won’t change wherever I take my next snap. Whatever happens, I just want to say thank you.” to the fans who really embraced who I am and the mindset that aligned so well with the working people of this city.
“Cleveland will always be a part of [wife] Emily and my story. And we will always be grateful for the impact she has had and will have on our lives.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at [email protected].
This article originally appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal: Baker Mayfield thanks Cleveland in letter to Browns fans