Baker Mayfield has channeled the spirit of those Rodney Dangerfield one-liners about getting no respect.
Appearing on the "Ya Neva Know: You Know What I Mean?" podcast, Mayfield made it clear he doesn’t appreciate the way the Browns handled their business with him this offseason.
The franchise traded for quarterback Deshaun Watson on March 18 and is expected to officially move on from Mayfield this offseason.
The Watson deal was executed despite general manager Andrew Berry publicly stating Jan. 11 and March 1 he "fully" expected Mayfield to be the starting quarterback of the Browns next season.
"I feel disrespected 100% because I was told one thing and they completely did another," Mayfield said during an hour-and-a-half episode of the podcast that was released Wednesday. "That’s what I’m in the middle of right now. And you know what? OK. I got my taste of it because I’ve had four different head coaches in four years, a bunch of different coordinators. I’ve had the highs, and they always come back."
Berry met with Mayfield’s agent in early March at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis and echoed what he had said publicly about expecting Mayfield to start for the Browns in 2022, a person familiar with the conversation told the USA TODAY Network. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation. Berry also explained he would conduct due diligence on other quarterbacks.
However, Berry did not tell Mayfield’s camp the Browns would meet with Watson on March 15 in Houston. Mayfield learned the news through the media.
Berry acknowledged March 29 at the NFL owners meetings he had a regret about falling short with his communication.
“We were pretty open with Baker and his camp in terms of how we viewed the position,” Berry said during the owners meetings at in Palm Beach, Florida. “I will keep those conversations private for obvious reasons. Quite honestly, if there’s probably one thing that I would regret or kind of go back [and do] differently, when he had been notified that we were one of the teams that Deshaun wanted to meet with, late that Monday night, we set up the visit. I had set up a call for Baker’s representation the following morning. The news got out before I was able to make that call.
“You always hate those type of situations because it kind of gives off an appearance of — that’s never how you want someone to find out about that situation. That’s the one thing I wish I had done a little bit differently. But on the whole, we had been pretty candid in terms of where we stood at the quarterback position really since very early in the offseason.”
While Berry, coach Kevin Stefanski and owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam flew back from their meeting with Watson, Mayfield posted what read like a farewell letter to Cleveland on social media. Two days later, Mayfield formally requested a trade. The next day, the Browns agreed to a trade with the Houston Texans for Watson, who received a record-setting contract from the Browns for five years and $230 million fully guaranteed.
Mayfield also took exception to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen saying on the air March 16 he was told the Browns wanted "what they consider an adult" at quarterback. Jimmy Haslam said March 25 that Mayfield thought the comment did not come from Browns ownership.
Baker Mayfield views Seattle Seahawks as ‘most likely’ landing spot in trade from Cleveland Browns
Mayfield stressed on the podcast he’s ready for his next opportunity. The Browns have yet to find a trade partner willing to pay the $18.858 million guaranteed Mayfield is owed next season on his fifth-year option, so they will likely need to eat part of the salary to facilitate a deal.
“I’m not nervous,” Mayfield said. “I have no idea where I’m going, but I’m not nervous. I’ve gone through a lot of (expletive) the past few years, but now I’m going to control what I can control. I‘m going to try to impact as many people as I possibly can and work my ass off doing it.”
Mayfield conceded he thought at one point he would land with the Indianapolis Colts, who instead traded with the Atlanta Falcons for quarterback Matt Ryan on March 21.
Mayfield, 26, also floated the idea of winding up with the Seattle Seahawks.
“If this would have been about a week and a half ago, I would have said Indianapolis,” Mayfield said. “Seattle? I mean, it’d probably be the most likely option. But even then, I’ve got no idea.”
The Seahawks have Drew Lock atop their quarterback depth chart after trading Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos last month and employ Alonzo Highsmith as their senior executive adviser to the GM. Highsmith was a Browns vice president of player personnel when former GM John Dorsey drafted former Heisman Trophy winner Mayfield first overall in 2018 out of the University of Oklahoma, where the QB said he had more fun than Cleveland.
“When you get the money that’s involved in the NFL, it’s a snaky (expletive) business,” Mayfield added on the podcast. “It is, and there’s no way around it. That was probably the most eye-opening thing when I first got into the league. You’ve got to find people that you can trust, but you can’t trust everybody. Luckily, I had some good mentors. (Former Browns backup quarterback) Drew Stanton … really opened my eyes up. If I went into it without him, I would have been extremely naive.”
Browns general manager Andrew Berry doesn’t want to settle for what he considers less-than-ideal Baker Mayfield trade
Berry emphasized at the owners meetings he feels no pressure to rush into a “sub-optimal” option for trading Mayfield. Perhaps an opportunity will present itself around or during the April 28-30 NFL draft.
The Browns will begin their voluntary offseason workout program Tuesday. Stefanski and Jimmy Haslam have said they expect Watson to be in attendance for the start of the program.
If the Browns were to hang onto Mayfield for a while, he would not be contractually obligated to report to team headquarters until mandatory minicamp June 14-16. In the event Mayfield were still a member of the Browns, who theoretically could wait for a preseason quarterback injury to create a trade opportunity, he would attend minicamp and training camp beginning in late July to avoid fines and any potential contractual issues, a person familiar with the situation told the USA TODAY Network. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the quarterback’s plans.
Berry hopes to avoid releasing Mayfield because the Browns would be on the hook for his full salary.
One way or another, the Browns want “closure” to the Mayfield era, as Stefanski said at the owners meetings.
The Browns signed quarterback Jacoby Brissett as the backup to Watson, who faces a potential NFL suspension stemming from 24 women accusing the three-time Pro Bowl selection of sexual misconduct or sexual assault during massage appointments. The team also agreed to a deal with Josh Dobbs as its third-string QB.
Mayfield is eager to close his Cleveland chapter, too.
When one of the podcast’s co-hosts explained he had become a Browns fan because of Mayfield, the quarterback said, “You might not have to do that anymore. Actually, you don’t might. You don’t have to do that anymore.”
Baker Mayfield says he let criticism bother him last season and would love to boo fans at their jobs
A starter for the Browns the past four seasons, Mayfield helped them make the playoffs in 2020 and capture their first postseason win since Jan. 1, 1995, with a 48-37 wild-card victory in Pittsburgh. Then he struggled mightily last year in an injury-riddled season.
“I really, truly honesty have no regrets of my time in Cleveland of what I tried to give that place," Mayfield said. "True Clevelanders and true Browns fans know that, and that’s why I can walk away from the whole situation feeling like I did it.
“I had great times my rookie year. I didn’t start in the beginning. I came in and had fun in the back half of the year. 2019 sucked. 2020 was great — made the playoffs. 2021 was miserable. It’s like [a roller coaster]. I’m just looking for stabilization right now. I know what I need to do to be the best version of me and be able to lead an organization. I’m in a good place right now. I have no clue where I’m going.”
Mayfield has been throwing this offseason after undergoing surgery Jan. 19 on the completely torn labrum he suffered in his left, non-throwing shoulder in Week 2 against the Texans. The shoulder became more problematic when Mayfield suffered a fractured humerus bone in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals.
“One thing after another — mentally tough,” Mayfield said. “I was trying to be tough and fight through it, but physically I wasn’t as capable of doing what I normally was. When I wasn’t performing on the field, that’s when it really started going downhill. That’s when I started losing my own self-confidence and just losing myself.
“This past year was rough. It was rough on me, my family. It sucked because I knew what I could be doing, but I physically wasn’t in a state to do it. And then because [of what I endured] physically, it was mental. The whole thing was one after another.”
Mayfield completed 60.5% of his passes last season for 3,010 yards and 17 touchdowns with 13 interceptions for a rating of 83.1, going 6-8 as a starter.
The Browns went 8-9 and missed the playoffs despite entering the season with Super Bowl expectations.
The criticism Mayfield received for his performance provided challenges. He said taking a break from social media for part of this offseason was “the best thing in the world” because he realized he had “paid so much attention to things that really don’t matter” in the past.
In November, fans booed Mayfield at FirstEnergy Stadium during a 13-10 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 11. Mayfield skipped his postgame news conference afterward.
“When people are so critical of it,” Mayfield said, “I would love to show up at somebody’s cubicle and just boo the (expletive) out of them and watch them crumble.
“I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say that I got caught up in all the negativity and stuff during the year last year.”
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Baker Mayfield on Cleveland Browns: ‘I feel disrespected 100%’