Saturday, the team reportedly made a switch at backup quarterback by trading Case Keenum to Buffalo and signing Jacoby Brissett. Cleveland also restructured WR Amari Cooper’s deal and added a couple of void years, according to a report, to help create salary-cap space.
According to a report by Mary Kay Cabot, Mayfield’s trade demand could have been the push that led Cleveland to offer Watson the historic guaranteed contract that sealed the deal for the trade. Cabot wrote that Mayfield planned to skip all activities with the team in hopes of the deal and, perhaps, more:
Baker Mayfield’s trade request to the Browns on Thursday and word from his reps that he no plans on playing for them in 2022 may have revived the blockbuster deal for Deshaun Watson, a league source told cleveland.com.
With Mayfield returning from shoulder surgery and new additions, Cooper in particular, the offseason activities would have been important for the offense. Cabot notes that the former top pick was also willing to sit out training camp to try to force a deal.
While Cleveland has not traded Mayfield yet, it is expected. As noted in the linked piece above, Indianapolis is his preferred destination but he has very little control at this point in time. While highly unlikely, the Browns could call his bluff if they don’t find a suitable trade partner.
Based on Cabot’s report and Mayfield’s “goodbye letter” post on social media, it seems the QB had no intentions of returning to Cleveland. The Browns seemingly had no intention of letting him torpedo the season and pushed for Watson even harder.