Baker Mayfield Posts Cryptic Message After Browns Meet With Watson

By Jason Hall

March 16, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

Baker Mayfield appears to believe his time with the Cleveland Browns is coming to an end.

Amid reports that Browns' brass was traveling back from a meeting with fellow quarterback Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans, Mayfield shared a lengthy statement on his verified social media accounts thanking the city of Cleveland and fans "who truly embraced who I am."

"With many uncertainties, here is where my head and heart is," Mayfield wrote. "The past 4 years have been nothing short of truly life changing since I heard my name called in the draft to go to Cleveland. This is not a message with hidden meaning. This is strictly to thank the city of Cleveland for embracing my family and me," he said. "We have made many memories and shared growing in this process through all the ups and downs.
"I have no clue what happens next, which is the meaning behind the silence I have had during the duration of this process. I can only control what I can, which is trusting in God's plan throughout this process. I have given this franchise everything I have. That is something I've always done at every stage, and at every level. And that will not change wherever I take my next snap. Whatever happens ... I just want to say thank you to the fans who truly embraced who I am and the mentality that aligned so well with this city's hard working people.
"Cleveland will always be a part of [my wife] Emily and my story. And we will always be thankful for the impact it has had and will have in our lives. Sincerely, Baker Reagan Mayfield."

A league source told ESPN that Browns representatives flew to Houston to pitch Watson on waiving his no-trade clause should a trade be agreed upon with the Texans.

On Tuesday (March 15), ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported the Atlanta Falcons had emerged as a "sleeper" team among the potential trade destinations for Watson.

"The Falcons have emerged as a sleeper team to acquire Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, league sources tell @mortreport and me," Schefter tweeted on Tuesday (March 15). "The Falcons join the Panthers, Saints and Browns as teams that have met with, or are interested in, trading for Watson."

Watson is a native of Gainesville, Georgia, which is 50 miles northeast of Atlanta and was a ball boy for the Falcons during his younger years, as well as the No. 4 prospect from the Peach State for the 2014 national recruiting cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite.

Last Friday (March 11), the Harris County District Attorney's Office ruled that Watson would not face criminal charges in relation to the accusations.

Hours later, a source told ESPN that the Carolina Panthers were exported to make an "aggressive" trade offer for Watson.

The source confirmed that Watson -- who had a decorated collegiate career in the Carolinas at Clemson University -- is not expected to use his no-trade clause if a deal is reached.

The Panthers had previously attempted to acquire Watson via trade last offseason before he was linked to 22 lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints of sexual misconduct.

A source with knowledge told Pro Football Network that no team has done more due diligence in investigating Watson's legal situation than the Panthers.

Carolina picked up the fifth-year option on quarterback Sam Darnold, who was acquired in a trade with the New York Jets last offseason, and faces a $18.9 million cap number in 2022 as part of the deal.

The 26-year-old was initially reported to be targeted by Carolina and several other teams including the Seattle Seahawks -- who traded away franchise quarterback Russell Wilson last week -- as well as the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (prior to Tom Brady's unretirement announcement), Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns, ESPN reports.

All the teams reported to be interested in Watson are aware that the NFL could hand down its own suspension of the quarterback if he is found to have violated the league's personal code of conduct.

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