Did Browns mislead Mayfield about Watson pursuit?

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As of the start of the midweek, Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson was reportedly keen on rejecting a potential trade to the Cleveland Browns and instead favored other destinations. Roughly 24 hours later, the Browns met with Watson in Houston in an attempt to convince him to waive his no-trade clause for them, and current Browns starting signal-caller Baker Mayfield responded by sharing what may or may not be a farewell to Northeast Ohio and Cleveland fans. 

Knowledgeable individuals did well to avoid any overreactions when Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry both publicly committed to Mayfield remaining their QB1 earlier this winter. The first-overall pick from the 2018 NFL Draft was coming off a lackluster season during which he played injured almost every time he took the field, so Stefanski and Berry saying anything that may have diminished Mayfield’s value on the market made little sense. 

Berry repeated at the NFL Scouting Combine that he “fully” expected Mayfield to stay atop his depth chart, and those comments were followed by Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reporting that the organization told people representing the 26-year-old at the Combine that the team planned “to start (Mayfield) in 2022 and not replace him with a veteran QB.”

NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala shared an interesting update Wednesday when she tweeted that “Baker Mayfield’s camp was aware club would do due diligence on any top-flight QB who came available.” Logic suggests that either contradicts Cabot’s original story or shows Berry and company possibly didn’t believe Watson was a serious option for the Browns as recently as March 1. 



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