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Report: Cleveland Browns view Baker Mayfield as team's QB after missing on Deshaun Watson

According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Cleveland Browns still view Baker Mayfield as their starting quarterback after missing out on Deshaun Watson.

CLEVELAND — After missing out on a trade to acquire Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Cleveland Browns find themselves with plenty of uncertainty at quarterback. But while some reports have stated that the Browns would move on from Baker Mayfield regardless of the outcome of their pursuit of Watson, that may not be the case.

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Shortly after Watson reportedly informed the Browns that he wouldn't waive his no-trade clause to come to Cleveland, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reported that the team still views Mayfield as its starting quarterback. Per Garafolo, the Browns informed Mayfield's representatives at the NFL Scouting Combine that it would only explore the opportunity to explore top-tier quarterbacks on this year's market, such as Watson.

Garafolo added that Mayfield has told some teammates in recent days that he is
"prepared for anything," including a potential return to Cleveland for a fifth season in 2022.

Garafolo's reporting stands in stark contrast to what ESPN's Chris Mortensen said on Wednesday when he reported that the Browns and Mayfield were headed for a breakup, regardless of the outcome of the team's pursuit of Watson.

"They're breaking up regardless of whether or not Deshaun Watson ends up in Cleveland," Mortensen said while appearing on an ESPN NFL free agency special. "The one thing I was told is that it's just not a match emotionally. Whereas Baker Mayfield's passion and emotional leadership was embraced at Oklahoma and even in the beginning with the Browns, things have changed and they want what they consider an 'adult' at that position. And Baker Mayfield probably is going to be moved."

On Tuesday night, Mayfield posted a letter to social media addressing his uncertain future with the Browns.

"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."

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