CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Browns have been told they have been knocked out of the Deshaun Watson trade lottery, according to a league source. cleveland.com.
Brown must now decide whether or not to trade Baker Mayfield and can try to trade other brokers such as Derek Carr of Raiders and Matt Ryan of Falcons.
Carr has been on their radar all season. About two weeks ago, the Browns weren’t in the market for 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo – who recently had shoulder surgery and won’t be able to throw until July – but that may change now that the QB market has dwindled. Garoppolo will also be easier to get than Carr and some others.
The Browns were eliminated from Thursday’s Watson race at around 11am when the three-time Pro Bowler limited their options to Saints and Falcons. Panthers also met him.
Based on Mayfield’s letter to Cleveland fans on Tuesday night that appeared to be a farewell, and multiple conversations with sources, Mayfield and his camp will likely demand a deal if Brown doesn’t offer that opportunity first.
The fact that Brown has publicly wooed Watson and presumably made a huge bid including perhaps three first-round picks has not done well with Mayfield and his camp, and they will likely seek greener pastures. A league source said Mayfield has some better options for a new landing site – with the Colts at the helm of that roster – and Brown will eventually try to help him as far as possible if he gets to that point.
There is still a chance of Mayfield returning as a start, but one source said cleveland.com Chances are low. Brown is believed to be fine moving forward with Mayfield, who is rehabilitating his surgically repaired left shoulder.
But Mayfield may need a change of scenery and force the case. If he doesn’t – or if Brown refuses to honor his request – he will have to go back and do what Garoppolo did last year after 49 players were traded to draft Trey Lance. Garoppolo put his head down, went to work, and led the 49ers to the NFC Championship.
If Brown can calm Mayfield’s agonizing feelings, he can return healthy with a promoted receiving squad – one already backed by trade for four-time Pro Bowl recipients – Amari Cooper – and try to bring Brown back into the playoffs.
If the Browns agree to transfer Mayfield, they will explore deals for Carr, Ryan and others. Carr checks all the boxes, but it can be tough to dismiss the Raiders and their new coach Josh McDaniels, who said at the NFL Combine that Carr is his “perfect” start to 2022.
But until his new extension with the Raiders is signed, it’s all on the table for Carr, who heads into the final year of his $19.87 million contract. The ponies may also make a big push toward Carr, cleveland.com reports. But Brown did their due diligence on Carr this off season, and he has been intrigued. Likewise, Carr would be interested in playing with Brown if he doesn’t seal the deal with Las Vegas.
Ryan, 36, is another possibility for Brown if Mayfield goes.
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