It is uncertain who will line up at quarterback when the Cleveland Browns open their 2022 season, but Baker Mayfield is pretty sure it will not be him. 

Appearing at his youth football camp in Norman, Oklahoma on Tuesday, Mayfield was asked if there was any chance of a reconciliation with the Browns. 

“I think it’s been pretty obvious, the mutual decision on both sides is to move on,” he said. 

Mayfield’s comments came the same day Deshaun Watson’s hearing began to determine whether he violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy. 

The Browns appeared content to move on from Mayfield when they traded for Watson and gave him a massive five-year, $230million guaranteed contract in March despite the fact he was being sued by two dozen women for sexual misconduct. 

Watson has long maintained he is innocent of any wrongdoing, but he is likely facing a lengthy suspension from the NFL. 

Mayfield is still under contract with the Browns – due to make $18.8million this season – but said for him to suit up again for the franchise, the team has a relationship to mend.  

“I think for that to happen, there would have to be some reaching out,'' he said. ''But we're ready to move on, I think, on both sides.'' 

Part of Mayfield’s frustration with the Browns is after they acquired Watson they were unable to trade him prior to the NFL draft like he expected. Training camps begin in less than a month, and teams are set with their quarterback situations so a trade at this point is unlikely. 

''I think I got frustrated with it not happening before minicamp and all those things, but it's just the stuff that's out of my control,'' he said. ''And so, you know, let those things happen and fall in place.'' 

Mayfield helped lead Cleveland to the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2002 two seasons ago, but struggled last year while dealing with a shoulder injury and the Browns finished at 8-9. 

Other than Mayfield and Watson, the only other quarterbacks on Cleveland’s roster are Jacoby Brissett and Josh Dobbs, so one of those two are the leading candidates to start the opener against the Carolina Panthers on September 11, if Mayfield is done with the team and Watson is banned. 

And Mayfield certainly sounds like his days with the Browns are over. 

''I'm thankful for my four years in Cleveland, and had a lot of ups and downs and a ton of learning experiences that I will forever keep with me,'' he said. 

A retired federal judge will make a decision on Deshaun Watson's immediate NFL future, with a hearing set to begin on Tuesday determining whether he violated the league's personal conduct policy.

The Cleveland Browns quarterback was sued by 24 women who accused him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions in 2020 and 2021, when he was with the Houston Texans.

Twenty of those civil lawsuits recently ended with confidential settlements and Watson, who will attend the hearing in person, denies any wrongdoing. 

Two grand juries in Texas have already looked at complaints against Watson and declined to indict him on criminal charges, though the NFL conduct policy does not require criminal charges in order to bring discipline.

Following an NFL investigation, it is widely reported they will seek an indefinite suspension of at least a year.

The league's personal conduct policy aims to hold players and personnel to a "higher standard" and make sure they conduct themselves appropriately.

Retired federal judge Sue Robinson is the disciplinary officer appointed for the case and will issue a verdict on whether any violation occurred.

A verdict is expected next week before training camp but that may not bring the end to the matter.

Watson's representatives and the NFL Players Association would have the ability to appeal against any punishment, such as a suspension, while the NFL could also appeal for an increased sanction if they do not agree with the verdict.

But there will be no appeals if he is cleared of the charges.

Watson is hoping to avoid being sidelined for the second season in a row. He was not suspended in the 2021 campaign but did not play for the Texans amid his legal issues, having also requested a trade.

One of the game's leading QBs, Watson was ultimately traded in March this year. The Browns gave him a record guaranteed contract of $230million over five years.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has settled all but four of the 24 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct brought against him, according to attorney Tony Buzbee. 

Buzbee represents the women suing Watson, who has been accused of committing sexual misconduct during massage sessions by two dozen women.

"Today I announce that all cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled," Buzbee said in a statement on Tuesday.

"We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements. Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We won't comment further on the settlements or those cases."

One of the four women who did not settle is Ashley Solis – the first woman to accuse Watson of inappropriate sexual conduct. 

"Ashley Solis is one of the heroes of this story," Buzbee said. "Her case has not settled and thus her story and that of the other three brave women will continue. I look forward to trying these cases in due course, consistent with other docket obligations and the court's schedule."

Watson has not commented on Buzbee's statement.

Until all 24 cases are settled, Watson's NFL future is still uncertain. The NFL is conducting its own investigation into whether he violated the league's code of conduct.

The New York Times recently reported the embattled quarterback hired at least 66 different women for private massages over the course of 17 months. Watson has long maintained he is innocent of any wrongdoing. 

 

 

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson repeated that he is innocent of the inappropriate sexual conduct alleged in the now 24 lawsuits against him when speaking publicly for the first time in nearly three months.

Despite the increasing number of civil suits against him, including two more filed within the last 15 days, Watson has insisted he is innocent.

Watson is accused of sexual assault and harassment by over two dozen massage therapists who visited his home for private sessions while he played for the Houston Texans.

Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women suing Watson, said on Monday that he plans to file two more lawsuits against the embattled quarterback.

"I never assaulted anyone," Watson told reporters on Tuesday following practice at Browns mini-camp. "I never harassed anyone, or I never disrespected anyone. I never forced anyone to do anything. I just want to clear my name.

"I've been honest and I've been truthful about my stance. I never forced on anyone and I never assaulted anyone. That's what I've been saying since the beginning and I'll continue to do that until all the facts come out."

Last week, the New York Times reported that Watson hired at least 66 different women for private massages over the course of 17 months, including all 24 plaintiffs.

Despite Watson’s legal troubles, the Browns convinced him to drop his no-trade clause and gave him a fully guaranteed five-year, $230million contract after acquiring him this off-season.

The 26-year-old quarterback had criminal complaints dropped in two Texas counties, but both he and the Browns continue to face public backlash.

Watson’s short-term future on the field hangs in the balance as the NFL conducts its own investigation into whether he has violated the league’s code of conduct. Commissioner Roger Goodell said during spring meetings that the investigation was nearing an end but would not name a target date.

"I can't control that," Watson said. "I did everything they asked me to do. I answered every question truthfully that the NFL asked me.

"That's all I can do, is be honest and tell them exactly what happened. They have a job, and so I have to respect that. And that's what we want to do is cooperate. They have to make a decision that's best for the league."

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has announced the team have excused quarterback Baker Mayfield from attending their mandatory minicamp set to begin next week.

The move prevents the unhappy former number one overall pick from being subjected to financial penalties by missing the three-day session. 

Mayfield could have been fined upwards of $90,000 by not attending the entire portion of minicamp.

Stefanski told reporters on Wednesday that the decision was mutual and in the best interests of both parties.

"Obviously that was a decision made between our organisation, Baker and Baker’s team. We felt that was the best decision between both sides," he said.

Mayfield’s four-year run as the Browns' starting quarterback essentially came to an end when the team acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans in March and promptly signed the three-time Pro Bowler to a four-year, $160million extension. 

The fiery quarterback reacted strongly and negatively to the move, saying he felt "disrespected" and blindsided during an interview in April.

"I was told one thing and they completely did another," he told the Ya Neva Know podcast. "I’m ready for the next chapter, the next opportunity."

Mayfield previously skipped Cleveland’s recent voluntary organised training activities program and has requested a trade, though he remains on the roster for now. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner is due a guaranteed $18.9m this season in the final year of his rookie contract.

Finding a trade partner has so far proven to be difficult due to Mayfield's fifth-year option price-tag, pending free agency and year-to-year inconsistency. 

The 27-year-old’s 21 interceptions in his first full season as a starter in 2019 ranked second in the NFL, but he bounced back to throw for 26 touchdowns and only eight picks the following season while leading Cleveland to an 11-5 record and the franchise's first playoff appearance in 18 years.

Mayfield struggled to repeat that success last season while plagued by a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder that eventually required surgery.

His passer rating dipped from 95.9 in 2020 to 83.1 last season and he finished with a 17-to-13 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Watson's status for the start of the season is also undetermined as he faces a potential league suspension due to civil lawsuits filed by 24 female massage therapists alleging him of sexual assault and impropriety.

Stefanski was non-committal when asked if Mayfield would remain an option if he is still on the roster and Watson begins the season under suspension. 

The Browns do have another experienced backup after signing six-year veteran Jacoby Brissett in March.

"We're just going to deal with it day by day," Stefanski said of the Mayfield situation.

The Cleveland Browns have reached an agreement with tight end David Njoku on a four-year contract extension.

Cleveland placed the franchise tag on Njoku in March and have now come to terms with a player they hope will be pivotal to their offensive success.

According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the Browns and Njoku have agreed a deal in principle worth $56.75million.

He will receive $28million guaranteed, according to the report, with an average annual salary of $14.18million making him the fifth-highest paid tight end in the league.

The Browns are betting on Njoku's upside, with the 2017 first-round pick yet to live up to expectations since Cleveland took him with the 29th overall selection five years ago.

His best season in terms of receiving yards came back in 2018 when he finished with 56 catches for 639 yards, but Njoku has since struggled with injuries.

He played in only four games in 2019 and 13 in 2020 as the Browns reached the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Njoku started 11 of his 16 games in 2021 and finished with 475 yards and four touchdowns in a campaign that saw a disappointing Browns team fail to qualify for the postseason, though his average of 13.2 yards per reception ranked fourth among all qualifying tight ends.

Jadeveon Clowney is heading back to the Cleveland Browns after being rewarded for a healthy 2021 season.

A three-time Pro Bowl defensive end, Clowney's ability has rarely been in question, but he had been limited to just eight games for the Tennessee Titans ahead of joining the Browns last year.

The Browns gave their new signing a one-year year last April worth up to $10million and were duly rewarded with one of the best seasons of his career.

Playing opposite Myles Garrett, Clowney finished with nine sacks and two forced fumbles in 14 starts – each the second-best returns of his career.

Only Garrett (16) had more sacks for the Browns, and Clowney has done enough to convince the team to invest again for 2022.

According to ESPN, the player is returning on another 12-month deal, this time with a value up to $11m.

The Browns finished a disappointing third in the AFC North at 8-9 in 2021 but will hope to be contenders after trading for quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Watson played on the same Houston Texans team as Clowney between 2017 and 2018.

After being released by the Cleveland Browns, wide receiver Jarvis Landry has signed with the New Orleans Saints.

Landry, 29, has the third-most receptions and fourth-most targets in the entire NFL since his arrival in 2014.

Drafted in the same year as arguably the best receiver in the league, Davante Adams, Landry has 19 more catches (688 to 669) and 33 more targets (1,045 to 1,012) in just seven more career games (123 to 116).

The five-time Pro Bowler has spent the past four seasons with the Browns after playing his first four years with the Miami Dolphins, but his production tailed off badly in 2021, posting career-lows in games played, targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns as the Browns sputtered.

Landry joins a receiver group in New Orleans consisting of new first-round draft pick Chris Olave, and 2019 Offensive Player of the Year Michael Thomas, who missed the entire 2021 season with a serious ankle injury but is expected to be back in action at the start of the 2022 campaign.

The Saints also boast one of the best running backs in the NFL in the form of Alvin Kamara, and with quarterback Jameis Winston returning from a torn ACL, new head coach Dennis Allen may have the makings of a well above average offense.

It is a homecoming for Landry, who grew up in Louisiana and attended Louisiana State University.

Denzel Ward will become the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history after agreeing to a five-year contract extension with the Cleveland Browns.

Ward was drafted fourth overall by Cleveland in 2018 and has gone on to make the Pro Bowl on two occasions.

He has played 52 times for the Browns across four seasons with the franchise. He made 34 tackles and three interceptions in the 2021 campaign.

ESPN – citing Tory Dandy of CAA Sports, who negotiated the deal – reported on Monday that Ward had agreed fresh terms with the Browns, with the extension worth $100.5million. Of that, $71.25m is guaranteed.

The 24-year-old's average annual salary of $20.1million moves him above Jalen Ramsey of the Los Angeles Rams, the previously highest-paid CB in the league.

Ward's new deal runs through the 2027 season though he remains under contract for $13.3m in 2022 after Cleveland exercised their fifth-year option on his old deal.

Ward joined the Browns in the same draft as quarterback Baker Mayfield, but the latter is expected to be traded before the start of the new season.

Baker Mayfield has said he feels "disrespected" by the Cleveland Browns, and insists he is "ready for the next step" in his career.

The number one draft pick from 2018 is under contract for 2022 at $18.9million – fully guaranteed – with Cleveland picking up his fifth-year option last year.

However, the Browns appeared to move on from Mayfield as their starter when trading a significant package of draft picks to the Houston Texans to acquire Deshaun Watson.

The franchise also picked up former Pittsburgh Steelers backup QB Josh Dobbs from free agency last week, leaving Mayfield's future in further doubt.

Speaking to the YNK podcast on Wednesday, Mayfield said: “I feel disrespected... I was told one thing and they completely did another."

Mayfield suggested that the Seattle Seahawks were "probably the most likely option" for him after they traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, insisting: "I'm ready for the next chapter.

"I really, truly, honestly have no regrets of my time in Cleveland of what I tried to give to that place. True Clevelanders and true Browns fans know that."

Mayfield arrived in a Browns team that had gone 0-16 the year prior, improving them to 7-8-1 in his first campaign, and taking them to their first playoff victory in 26 years in his third.

However, a difficult 2021 season would follow, suffering a shoulder injury in Week 2 against the Houston Texans, before being booed during the home victory against the Detroit Lions in Week 11.

"I'd be lying to you if I didn't say that I got caught up in all the negativity and stuff during the year last year," he added. "I was trying to be tough and fight through [the injury], but then physically I wasn't as capable of doing what I would normally [do].

"When I wasn't performing on the field, that's when it really started to go downhill. Because I can tough it out, I don't care, I'm not going to complain about it, like everybody is banged up. But then when it started hindering my play and going downhill, that's when I was like, 'oh s***'.

"That's when I started losing my own self-confidence and losing myself. This past year was rough. It was. It was rough on me, my family. It sucked because I knew what I could be doing, but I physically wasn't in a state to do it."

Mayfield had just 17 passing touchdowns to his name (one rushing TD) in the 2021 campaign, his lowest during his four years in Cleveland, though he did end the season with a better pass completion percentage than in 2019 (60.5 to 59.4), as well as throwing fewer interceptions (13) than in either of his first two seasons (14 in 2018, 21 in 2019).  

"I know what I need to do for me to be the best version of me and be able to lead an organisation," he added. "I'm in a good place right now."

The Cleveland Browns have signed backup quarterback Josh Dobbs to a one-year deal as the situation with starter Baker Mayfield remains foggy.

Mayfield has requested a trade away from the Browns, but it is reported the franchise has no intention of dealing the former number one draft pick prior to this year's NFL Draft.

The franchise have moved on from Mayfield as their starter, trading a massive package of draft picks to the Houston Texans to acquire Deshaun Watson, and the signing of Dobbs – reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter – may indicate there is no intention to force Mayfield into a backup role.

It is understandable why the Browns would be hesitant to part ways with their primary signal-caller for a weak trade offer, as they went 0-16 in the season before he arrived, and have won no fewer than six games in the four seasons with Mayfield under center, including an 11-5 season and a trip to the playoffs in 2020.

After trading away three first round picks, plus two more later round picks, the Browns will be hoping a quarterback-hungry team comes calling on draft night as there is arguably no quarterback prospect in this year's class who profiles as a better prospect than Mayfield.

Dobbs has only attempted 17 passes in the NFL since being drafted in the fourth round in 2017, and has never started a professional game.

Jerry Jones has explained Amari Cooper's trade to the Cleveland Browns, claiming the Dallas Cowboys' salary cap could be "better spent" elsewhere.

Cooper signed a five-year, $100million contract extension with the Cowboys in 2020, coming off four Pro Bowl appearances in his first five seasons in the NFL.

But the wide receiver struggled to live up to that salary, which made him the highest-paid player at his position in 2021.

Cooper's $22m accounted for 10.5 per cent of the Cowboys' cap, with only defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence taking up more.

Despite that, Cooper ranked just 30th among receivers for catches (68) and receiving yards (865) and tied 12th for receiving touchdowns (eight).

Heading into 2022, Jones and the Cowboys pondered the merits of committing league-leading money to a player they were targeting with just 104 passes last year – tied for 32nd at his position.

"To be fair, we let Cooper go down the road," Jones explained. "That was our decision.

"That wasn't made to depreciate the team. At the end of the day, it is a financial allocation toward the talent, and you've got to consider availability, and that sometimes departs from the best route runner.

"We had to look hard at the 10 or 11 players who are getting two-thirds of the money. We have to make sure every one those players are pulling as much weight as you can, because of the economic emphasis. That is a big part of what's on the field.

"How much were they there, how many snaps they get, how much production did you get. That is always going to be under scrutiny. It should be."

Ultimately, Jones said, the Cowboys "made a decision that that allocation should be better spent".

Cowboys fans might still have hoped to get more in return for a player for whom they parted with a first-round draft pick – which became safety Johnathan Abram – in a 2018 trade with the then Oakland Raiders.

The Browns sent a fifth-round 2022 selection to Dallas, along with a pick swap in the sixth round.

"We made every effort to do as well as we can do with the trade," Jones said.

Baker Mayfield is still waiting to learn where he will play next season, with the Cleveland Browns so far unable to agree a trade for their former starting quarterback.

Mayfield remains on the Browns roster, despite the team trading for Deshaun Watson and also bringing in a new back-up in Jacoby Brissett.

That leaves a former first overall pick with a fully guaranteed $18.9million salary set to sit on the sideline in 2022.

It is anticipated Mayfield will ultimately leave the Browns and find a home elsewhere, but he and the team are having to stay patient.

Coach Kevin Stefanski explained: "I think everyone understands the situation and we're hoping that it is resolved soon.

"It's a unique situation. We've got to see how it plays out. I think all of us would love an answer yesterday, but that's not the reality of it."

Mayfield has been the Browns' starter since he was selected in the 2018 NFL Draft, making 59 starts (60 games) in four seasons.

It looked as though Mayfield was going to deliver on his promise after the 2020 season, in which he tossed only eight interceptions to his 26 touchdown passes and led the 11-5 Browns to the Divisional Round and a narrow loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

But there was regression in an injury-plagued 2021, with Mayfield's 13 picks meaning his career total of 56 is the highest in the league across the past four seasons.

The Browns instead controversially turned to Watson, as Mayfield requested a trade.

Deshaun Watson's presentation as the Cleveland Browns' new quarterback was dominated by questions around allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.

Watson faces 22 civil lawsuits, although two grand juries have now concluded there was not enough evidence for criminal proceedings.

The allegations, which emerged last year, overshadowed the player's attempts to secure a trade away from the Houston Texans, instead sitting on the sideline for the entire 2021 NFL season.

Watson eventually got his move after a first grand jury did not indict him, landing on the Browns.

The 26-year-old, appearing alongside Browns general manager Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski on Friday, described the opportunity as "a fresh start".

However, he also recognises "there's going to be a stain that's probably going to stick with me for a while".

Indeed, despite Watson discussing a belief he could win Super Bowls in Cleveland, most news conference queries centred on matters away from the field.

Watson said he did not intend to settle the civil lawsuits, explaining: "That's not my intent. My intent is to clear my name as much as possible."

And the QB continues to strenuously deny the allegations made against him.

"I don't have any regrets," Watson said. "The things that are off the field right now that came up caught me by surprise, because I never did anything that these people are alleging.

"And I know a lot of people say that I took the year off and I used that to be able to clear my name, like the previous two weeks, and I just continue to fight that.

"I just continue to work and become a better person, a better player and just a better son, like my mom has always taught me."

Meanwhile, Berry would not speculate on whether he thought there was any wrongdoing by Watson, responding to such a question: "We feel very confident in Deshaun the person.

"We have a lot of faith in him and we believe that as he gets into the community and our organisation, he's going to make a positive impact."

Deshaun Watson was not charged by a second grand jury after it considered evidence of sexual assault and misconduct allegations.

The Cleveland Browns quarterback faces 22 civil lawsuits.

However, earlier in March, Harris County jurors did not find enough evidence for criminal proceedings, and Watson was again not indicted on Thursday after a Brazoria County grand jury also assessed the case.

"After a careful and thorough review of the facts and evidence documented in the reports prepared by the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office and the Houston Police Department, as well as hearing testimony from witnesses, the grand jury for Brazoria County has declined to charge Deshaun Watson with any crimes," Brazoria County District Attorney Tom Selleck said in a statement.

"Accordingly, this matter is closed."

Watson has strenuously denied the accusations since they emerged last year, overshadowing his attempts to push for a trade away from the Houston Texans.

He got his move to Cleveland after the first grand jury did not charge him.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said last week: "Our organisation did a tremendous amount of background on Deshaun.

"We understand the concerns and questions that exist but are confident in the extensive work Andrew [Berry, executive vice-president of football operations and general manager] and his staff have done to feel confident about him joining our organisation."

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