Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has requested a trade from the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2018, as first reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
“It’s in the mutual interest of both sides for us to move on,” Mayfield told ESPN moments later (h/t Adam Schefter). “The relationship is too far fine to mend. It’s in the best interests of both sides to move on.”
The decision comes after the Browns opted to make a strong pursuit of Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, holding meetings with the passer earlier this week — sending a clear message to Mayfield that he is no longer their first option at the position.
Upon initial reports that Cleveland was showing interest in Watson, Mayfield sent out a pseudo-farewell letter to Browns fans forecasting things to come.
The 26-year-old Texas native had his worst season yet as a pro in 2021, completing just 60.5% of his passes for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions in 14 games despite at one point having a dangerous core of receivers that featured Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. Still, he managed to do that while playing through a shoulder injury that hindered his production.
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It appears to be an unceremonious end to a relationship that saw Mayfield help put the Browns back on the map and provide some stability at the quarterback position. From 1999 to Week 4 of the 2018 season when the Oklahoma product stepped in for an injured Tyrod Taylor, the Cleveland franchise started 30 different quarterbacks.
However, the Browns will not accommodate the trade request, according to ESPN’s Jake Trotter.
That hasn’t stopped interest from immediately sneaking through the cracks. Jeremy Fowler and Josina Anderson — both of ESPN — reported moments after the request went through that the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks are interested in Mayfield.
The Colts dealt Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders after one unsuccessful season while the Seahawks traded long-time franchise star, Russell Wilson, to the Denver Broncos.