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Baker Mayfield’s camp reportedly thought Cleveland Browns tried to sabotage quarterback

Matt Johnson

Quarterback Baker Mayfield knows the only way to resurrect his NFL career is by getting a change of scenery, whether it comes via trade or an outright release. As the Cleveland Browns struggle to find a trade partner willing to acquire Mayfield, the passer is left wondering if it might be the team’s fault.

Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, knew separation from Cleveland was coming. While the organization committed to him publicly, but they were always looking for a quarterback upgrade. Once the Browns requested an interview with Deshaun Watson, Mayfield wrote a farewell letter to the city.

He’s wanted out of Cleveland ever since, with the desire to get a fresh start even stronger once the Watson trade went through. Despite an overwhelming mutual interest from both Mayfield and the Browns to find a trade, nothing came to fruition during the NFL Draft.

Related: Support for Baker Mayfield in Browns’ locker room ‘poisoned’ after OBJ release

Things aren’t looking good for the 27-year-old quarterback. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made it clear Mayfield isn’t on their radar right now. Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers traded a future third-round pick to move up and select Matt Corral.

With very few options even on the table and still stuck on the roster, it seems the 6-foot-1 quarterback and his camp are now wondering if this is all the result of sabotage by the Browns.

“According to multiple sources, those close to Mayfield — who to that point had missed one game because of his shoulder injury — wondered at the time if the Browns were trying to make Mayfield look as hapless as possible in prime time, to potentially pave the way for the franchise to more easily explain why it might be moving on from him in the offseason.”

ESPN’s Jake Trotter on Baker Mayfield’s feelings toward the Cleveland Browns

Mayfield’s camp is referring to his Week 16 start against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In that matchup, broadcasted on Monday Night Football, Cleveland lost 26-14 and Mayfield had one of his worst games of the season.

  • Baker Mayfield stats (Week 16): 16-of-38, 41.% completion rate, 2-2 TD-INT ratio, nine sacks, 53.1 QB rating

The defense of Mayfield is that he played through a painful shoulder injury for his team, attempting to beat a division rival. However, he made the decision to play through a torn labrum in his shoulder months prior. It’s also worth noting that a week earlier, Mayfield threw four interceptions against the Green Bay Packers in a primetime matchup on Christmas.

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Cleveland likely would have been better off sitting Mayfield weeks prior and allowing Case Keenum to take over, but they wanted their former franchise quarterback to play if that’s what he wanted. The results were disastrous.

  • Baker Mayfield stats (Week 10-16): 53.4% completion rate, 9-10 TD-INT ratio, 19 sacks, 64.1 QB rating

What Mayfield views as sabotage by the Browns, Cleveland likely sees as damage actually done by Mayfield. It’s only stronger evidence the two sides need to part ways and an outright release is likely the only realistic outcome at this point.

Related: Carolina Panthers to explore Baker Mayfield pursuit