CLEVELAND — Days after acknowledging his uncertain future with the team, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has requested a trade, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, the Browns don't play to honor Mayfield's request.
Mayfield's reported request for a trade comes just hours after Cleveland was informed that it was no longer in the running to land Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in a potential trade. Taking to social media on Tuesday -- the same day members of the Browns organization met with Watson in Houston -- Mayfield posted a letter acknowledging his uncertain future with the franchise.
"The past 4 years have been nothing short of truly life changing since I heard my name called in the draft to go to Cleveland," he wrote. "This is not a message with hidden meaning. This is strictly to thank the city of Cleveland for embracing my family and me.
"I have no clue what happens next, which is the meaning behind the silence I have had during the duration of this process. I can only control what I can, which is trusting in God's plan throughout this process. I have given this franchise everything I have. That is something I've always done at every stage, and at every level. And that will not change wherever I take my next snap. Whatever happens ... I just want to say thank you to the fans who truly embraced who I am and the mentality that aligned so well with this city's hard working people."
On Wednesday, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that the Browns and Mayfield were headed for a breakup, regardless of the outcome of Cleveland's pursuit of Watson. But after the Browns were informed that they were no longer in the Watson sweepstakes on Thursday, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reported that Cleveland still viewed the Oklahoma product as its starting quarterback moving forward.
The disconnect between the Browns and their quarterback has been apparent dating back to the 2021 season, in which Mayfield underperformed while also battling injuries. At different points during the campaign, Mayfield questioned the team's offensive approach and admitted that he didn't feel that he had always been put in the best positions by head coach Kevin Stefanski.
In January, Mayfield publicly took issue with a report from Cabot stating that there was a rift between the quarterback and his head coach that could ultimately result in the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner requesting a trade. Later that month, he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder that plagued his play throughout the 2021 season.
Selected by the Browns with the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, Mayfield has served as Cleveland's starting quarterback for the past four seasons. In 2020, he helped lead the Browns to an 11-5 regular-season record, clinching the franchise's first playoff appearance since 2002 and ultimately, its first playoff win since 1994.