Did the Cleveland Browns just take another shot at Baker Mayfield?

The Cleveland Browns have their quarterback in Deshaun Watson, but that hasn’t stopped them from taking shots at their former QB, Baker Mayfield.

In a wildly eventful 2022 NFL offseason, it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that the Cleveland Browns have put together one of the best offseasons in the entire league. They have completely revamped their offense, which will now look to complement an already strong defense in their quest to reach the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance.

Easily the biggest move of the Browns offseason was their trade with the Houston Texans for Deshaun Watson. While Watson’s status amid his numerous sexual assault lawsuits is still cloudy to say the least, he presents a massive upgrade over Cleveland’s previous starting quarterback, Baker Mayfield, if he can indeed suit up once the season starts.

While it’s all sunshine and rainbows for Watson and the Browns right now, Mayfield on the other hand is waiting for his trade request to be fulfilled by Cleveland’s front office. Mayfield requested a trade once it was clear the Browns were actively pursuing Watson, and now that they actually have Watson on board, it’s clear that their relationship has deteriorated beyond repair.

Cleveland Browns take shot at Baker Mayfield

To say the 2021 season was a disappointment for the Cleveland Browns would be an understatement. In 2020, they made it all the way to the AFC Divisional round, and very nearly pulled off a massive upset over the Kansas City Chiefs. Heading into 2021, it seemed like the Browns had finally figured things out, and Mayfield would be their guy moving forward.

Instead, Mayfield struggled mightily in 2021, and what once looked to be a solid partnership between him and Cleveland collapsed. Whether his regression was due to a shoulder injury that plagued him for much of the season remains to be seen. The fact of the matter is Mayfield was not nearly as good as he was during the 2020 season, and the Browns were unhappy with that development.

Now the Browns have their quarterback of the future in Watson, and for the most part, they seem ecstatic. As Mayfield awaits his trade out of Cleveland, the Browns have not been shy in expressing their displeasure with how Mayfield performed during his time with the team.

The latest in the line of shots fired by the Cleveland Browns comes from their Chief Strategy Officer, Paul DePodesta, on a recent episode of “Building the Browns”. When discussing Cleveland’s lack of the a 2022 first-round pick, DePodesta said, “At the end of the day, it wasn’t that tough to get through because you had what you wanted all along, which is the franchise quarterback.”

It’s not hard to read through the lines here; DePodesta is implying that they didn’t have a franchise quarterback prior to their trade for Watson, meaning they clearly didn’t think too highly of Mayfield and his play under center for the past few seasons. DePodesta and the Browns didn’t view Mayfield as their quarterback of the future, so they acted fast and were able to land Watson.

While Mayfield was certainly never the greatest quarterback in the world, the Browns rubbed some salt in that wound.

There’s still a decent chance Watson will get suspended by the league for the allegations raised against him. So in a way, Cleveland may be getting ahead of themselves with these shots against Mayfield.

For Mayfield, he’s still just 27. Should he get traded, he could still be a really good starter for another franchise.

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