The Cleveland Browns offense is set to embark on a team-building trip to the Bahamas this weekend but embattled quarterback Baker Mayfield will not be making an appearance.
To say there’s some significant tension between Mayfield and the Browns is an understatement. The franchise spurned the former No. 1 overall pick this offseason, pulling off a blockbuster trade for his replacement, Deshaun Watson.
The Bahamas idea comes from Watson, who is treating the offense to the trip. It’s in a similar vein to what Mayfield did previously in his hometown of Austin, Texas. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported that Mayfield isn’t going to take advantage of the free Bahamas ticket, instead staying back to rehab his shoulder as the Browns search for a trade partner. Per Cabot:
Although Mayfield is still on the Browns roster, it’s unlikely he’ll l make the trip to the Bahamas, a source said. The Browns are still actively trying to trade him, and he’s still also rehabbing his surgically repaired left shoulder.
Not everyone agrees that Mayfield should stay at home. Albert Breer of the MMQB thinks Mayfield should go to send a message to other teams.
“I’ll say it again—if I’m Baker Mayfield, I’m showing up for everything. If you’re not there, out of sight, out of mind, no urgency to move you. If you show up … things are kind of awkward, and it could motivate a trade. Plus, showing up sends the right message to other teams.”
The Browns are still expected to have plenty of passers on hand, with Watson being joined by Jacoby Brissett, Josh Dobbs and newly-signed QB Felix Harper.
Baker Mayfield Felt Disrespected by Browns
Mayfield has no plans to mend fences with the Browns after how things went this offseason. On the April 13 episode of “YNK: you know what I mean?” Mayfield said he felt disrespected by the franchise that took him with the top pick in the 2018 draft.
“I have no regrets of my time in Cleveland, of what I tried to give to that place,” Mayfield said. “The respect thing is all going to be a personal opinion. I feel disrespected, 100%. I was told one thing, and they completely did another.”
Browns general manager Andrew Berry disputed that claim from Mayfield but did understand why he would be feeling slighted.
“We were very transparent with his reps,” Berry told reporters during a pre-draft press conference April 22. “We can all understand how Baker feels. … Baker is a competitive and driven young man. he’s had success as a quarterback and will continue to have success as a quarterback.”
Baker Mayfield Searching for Stabilization
While it’s been hard to find a trade taker for Mayfield, it’s less about his talent and more about the fact that the Browns have no leverage in an effort to get out from the $18-plus million they owe him.
Mayfield tied the rookie touchdown record during his first season in just 14 games and went on to lead the Browns to their first postseason berth in nearly two decades in 2020. However, last season Mayfield tossed just 17 touchdowns to 13 interceptions, slumping down the stretch as he dealt with a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.
Mayfield was clear that his first four years in Cleveland weren’t exactly rainbows and butterflies. He dealt with four head coaches and multiple offensive systems, finally getting a semblance of consistency with Kevin Stefanski at the helm.
“That’s what I’m in the middle of right now. And you know what? I got my taste of it because I’ve had four different head coaches in four years. 2021 was miserable – bunch of different coordinators. I’m just looking for stabilization right now.”
The Seahawks, Panthers and Texans have been the prominent players in the mix for Mayfield, although nothing appears imminent at this point.