Deshaun Watson arrives for the start of the Browns' volunteer OTAs; Baker Mayfield not present - New Style Motorsport

The future of the Cleveland Browns smiled as he headed to the facility for the first day of the team’s offseason training program. While Deshaun Watson’s presence Tuesday continued the dawn of a new era in Cleveland, former Browns franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield did not show up as he continues to seek a trade out of town.

On a chilly spring morning in northeast Ohio, Watson began his first active day on the job after signing a five-year, $230 million contract earlier this offseason after being traded from Houston. The former Pro Bowl quarterback is tasked with leading the Browns back to the playoffs after the franchise finished with a disappointing 8-9 record in 2021. Cleveland hopes to relive the success it had in 2020, when it won his first playoff game in 26 years.

As Watson acclimates with his new teammates, Mayfield remains a lame duck. He is still on the team’s payroll while the Browns determine his future. Given his contract (Mayfield owes a guaranteed $19 million this season after Cleveland picked up his fifth-year option), the Browns need to find a business partner for Mayfield, preferably one willing to take on some of his salary.

With the upcoming NFL Draft, the Browns can trade Mayfield for a draft pick (or two) during the three-day process. If no trade materializes, Cleveland likely will try to trade him to a team with unresolved questions at quarterback. The Browns also haven’t ruled out bringing Mayfield back, though based on Mayfield’s recent comments, that seems like the most unlikely scenario.

“I feel disrespected,” Mayfield said during a recent appearance on the You never know podcast. “One hundred percent. Because they told me one thing, and they did another thing entirely. That’s what I’m on right now… I’m just looking for stabilization right now.”

One team that may be in the market for Mayfield is Seattle, which traded starting quarterback Russell Wilson to the Broncos earlier this offseason. Despite their current quarterback situation, our recently compiled consensus mock draft doesn’t have Seattle drafting a quarterback in the first round. Veteran Geno Smith is currently scheduled to be the Seahawks’ Week 1 starter unless the team drafts or trades for a quarterback before the start of the season.

Regardless of where he ends up, it’s clear that Mayfield has started his last game in Cleveland, who selected him with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. While his career in Cleveland didn’t end on the best of notes, the tenure of Mayfield with the Browns had several positive moments that included his successful rookie campaign as well as his role in the franchise’s first playoff berth in more than a quarter-century.

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