Cleveland traded Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday, which ended any fantasy the former No. 1 pick would be the Browns' Week 1 starter in 2022.
Now, there is a chance it's a revenge game. Mayfield will be on the opposite Trey Burton Jersey sideline when the at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 11.
Carolina Panthers (@Panthers)
That could be the first chance for Mayfield to haunt his former team, and another opportunity to debate whether Cleveland should have in the offseason. Watson's disciplinary hearing with the Browns ended on July 2, and there has not been word whether he will face a suspension this season.
Mayfield, meanwhile, squashed the idea that he would return to Cleveland at his youth football camp in Norman, Okla., on June 30.
"I think it's been pretty obvious the mutual decision on both sides is to move on. I'm thankful for my four years in Cleveland," Mayfield said. "There were a lot of ups and downs Cody Whitehair Jersey and a ton of learning experiences that I'll forever keep with me."
Baker Mayfield answered the question everyone wants to know: If DeShaun Watson is suspended, could he return to Cleveland in 2022? Here's his answer from his youth camp Tuesday in Norman. (via , )SoonerScoop.com (@SoonerScoop)
"There is no resentment toward the city of Cleveland by any means," he said.
Obviously there were hard feelings between Mayfield and the Browns' management. Week 1 won't be the end of the story, however, not for a franchise that hasn't found the right long-term answer at quarterback since 1999.Mayfield has a Cleveland following
The Browns finished 0-16 the year before drafting Mayfield with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Mayfield experience was a roller-coaster. Mayfield had succe s when Freddie Kitchens was the interim offensive coordinator in 2018, but the following season with Kitchens as a head coach was a disaster.
He pulled the franchise out of the gutter over the next four seasons with a confidence that fired up a losing-season-beaten-fanbase desperate for attention. Mayfield was a walking wrestling promo with one-liners like "When I woke up this morning, I was feeling pretty dangerous."
The first season with Kevin Stefanski in 2020 was the peak. Mayfield had 3,563 yards, 20 TDs and eight interceptions. The Browns finished 11-5, beat the rival Steelers in the AFC wild card round and pushed the Kansas City Chiefs to the limit in the AFC divisional playoffs.
Then 2021 was a repeat disaster. Odell Beckham Jr. was released. Mayfield struggled with shoulder injuries and interceptions, and there were questions about whether he should have played through those injuries. The Browns finished 8-9.
Add it all up, and Mayfield finished 29-30; one Richard Dent Jersey game below .500. Considering the Browns had a winning percentage of .289 in the previous 19 seasons, that's progre s.
Mayfield, of course, still has to win the starting job in Carolina in a room that features Sam Darnold and Matt Corral. Darnold, of course, was the No. 3 pick by the New York Jets and the first quarterback selected behind Mayfield in 2018.
Does the Mayfield trade mean Darnold will be on the move? That is yet another layer in this story.Jacoby Bri sett or Mayfield?
With Watson's status uncertain and Mayfield traded, that leaves Jacoby Bri sett as the top option for the Browns. Let's not pretend like Bri sett, a career backup with a 14-23 record as a starter, is Joel Iyiegbuniwe Jersey better than Mayfield.
Bri sett has been in this position before. He became the starter when Andrew Luck was injured in 2017 and took a league-high 52 sacks that season. He started again in 2019 when Luck retired.
Bri sett has a lower interception rate than Mayfield, but Mayfield has a higher career completion percentage. Yes, Bri sett can have some succe s in a run-heavy offense with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and Amari Cooper is a go-to receiver.
If Watson faces a suspension to start the season, then Bri sett could face Mayfield in the opener. That automatically becomes one of the go-to storylines of Week 1. How long will it linger? That depnds on Watson.Watson's 2022 future is uncertain
Watson's disciplinary hearing is over, and the Mayfield trade is another part of the puzzle. Does this mean Watson will not face a season-long suspension in 2022?
Watson did not play in the 2021 season for Houston.
When Watson returns, the question becomes how much that mi sing time affects his game. He led the NFL with 4,823 pa sing yards in 2020, and he has won a playoff game. Watson's contract comes with a guaranteed $230 million, and this is a make-or-break move for Cleveland.
Depending on the length of the Cordarrelle Patterson Jersey suspension, Watson should be able to keep Cleveland in the AFC North hunt and is a talented option at quarterback through 2026. The Mayfield trade will be a distant memory if Watson thrives in Cleveland, but that is a big "if" the Browns cannot take for granted.Could Mayfield trade haunt Cleveland?
The Watson and Mayfield trades are part of a season where Bri sett could be Cleveland's 33rd different starting quarterback since 1999
Mayfield's career will be tied to Watson's from now on, and depending on how that plays out it adds another layer to what will be one of the most-scrutinized trades in NFL history Devin Hester Jersey . The franchise that hasn't found the right quarterback in the 21st century might have made the latest, and no question greatest, gaffe, if Watson does not deliver when he returns.
The Week 1 matchup will be a reminder, but everything Mayfield does in Carolina will be propped against what Watson does in Cleveland. The Browns were 8-9 last season, and the Panthers were 5-12. Who has the better record this season? Who wins a playoff game first? Those are part of the long game that starts with Wednesday's trade.
Mayfield might be gone, but it's going to be a while before he's forgotten in Cleveland.