Baker Mayfield was taken first overall by the Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft in what soon after appeared as it could finally be the resolve fans in Cleveland had been looking for at the QB position for two decades.
Despite a promising 11-5 record in 2020, the Browns squandered an opportunity to build on their best season in a while, finishing 8-9 last year in a tumultuous season that ended on rocky terms between the team and their QB. The straw that would break the camel’s back in the relationship was the news that the Browns would be throwing their name in the hat for the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, which to everyone’s surprise, they ended up winning.
Back and forth followed that included reports from Mayfield’s camp that he wanted out of Cleveland while the Browns fired back with statements that they were going to keep Mayfield on the roster. Rumors swirled that Mayfield could end up in places like Washington, Carolina or Indianapolis, but every team opted for a different QB.
Cleveland realized that Watson’s sexual misconduct allegations would leave him suspended for was projected to be anywhere from six games to a full season, leaving them in limbo without Mayfield or Watson for the start of the 2022 season, but the relationship was too far gone.
On Sunday, the Browns traded Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional fifth-round draft pick, and once Watson’s suspension is inevitably handed down, will start Jacoby Brissett under center Week 1.
And for the cherry on top, the Browns face off against the Panthers Week 1.