Editor’s note: This story contains stories of sexual abuse. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or at https://www.rainn.org.
After making the controversial decision to trade Baker Mayfield for Deshaun Watson, the Browns are looking at a potentially long-term layoff for their new star quarterback while their former No. 1 pick is removed from the situation.
Robert Griffin III played for Cleveland in 2016, starting five games for the team. He appeared on The Rich Eisen Show earlier this week and argued that the Browns need to rebuild their relationship with Mayfield to stay in contention this season, with the possibility that Watson will miss most, if not all, of the 2022 season.
“I think the Browns should offer an olive branch to Baker and ask him to stay if Deshaun Watson is sidelined for a significant amount of time,” Griffin told Eisen. “Baker has proven in this city that he can win a playoff game, take you to the playoffs and do all those things. Last year he played injured and was not very effective. The bottom line is that Baker Mayfield is better than Jacoby Brissett, that’s just the bottom line. And if you’re going to have to play a whole season with a guy, your best bet is to go back to Baker Mayfield and ask him to stay.”
Griffin says the Browns should pitch it to Mayfield as a chance to prove he’s not the player he was in 2021 and essentially audition for a starting role elsewhere.
“I think the Browns need to reach out to Baker and say, ‘We need you, we’re sorry how it turned out, but we want to give you an opportunity to go out there and prove yourself,’ and I think Baker needs to accept that Griffin said.
At this point, the Browns will likely have to extend that olive branch, as they have been unable to find a trade partner for the veteran quarterback thus far.
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Mayfield made that clear when asked if he would return if Cleveland “didn’t have a quarterback for next year” while working at a youth football camp in Oklahoma earlier this week.
“No, I think it’s going to take some time for that to happen, but we’re ready to move forward, I think on both sides,” Mayfield said.
The NFL wrapped up Deshaun Watson’s hearing this week, and we await the league’s decision on the quarterback’s suspension. According to MMQBAlbert Breer, the league pushed for a full-year suspension of the Browns quarterback, leading to a breakdown in settlement talks between the league and the players’ association.
Watson faced 24 civil lawsuits, 20 of which were recently settled, each detailing graphic accounts of sexual harassment and assault that allegedly took place during massage therapy sessions. Accounts ranged from Watson refusing to cover his genitalia to the quarterback “touching [a plaintiff] with his penis and tries to force her to have oral sex with him. The latter alleged that Watson masturbated and ejaculated on the plaintiff without her consent.
The quarterback has denied all charges against him, and two grand juries in Texas have declined to indict him on criminal charges. After the second grand jury decided not to indict, Watson was traded by the Texans to the Browns, who signed him to a five-year contract with $230 million in guaranteed money. Cleveland drafted the contract so that he loses just $55,556 for each game he is suspended in 2022.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the latest settlements will have “no impact on the collectively agreed disciplinary process.”
No timeline has been announced for a ruling on suspension by U.S. District Court Judge Sue L. Robinson, who was appointed as the league’s disciplinary officer by the NFL and the NFL Players Association and presided over the Watson case.
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