The Cleveland Browns have yet to find a trade partner for Baker Mayfield but safety John Johnson III says the team is mentally prepared to not see their former quarterback around Berea as the offseason workouts kick into full gear.
The Browns announced this week that Mayfield will be excused from mandatory minicamp, which is slated for June 14-16. With Mayfield’s future up in the air, the Browns players are trying to move on and avoid what has been one of the most prominent topics of conversation around the league since a blockbuster trade brought Deshaun Watson to Cleveland in March.
“Obviously you look at the roster and he’s still there. He’s not present here, but I think it’s just a business. I think we all understand that now more than ever,” Johnson told reporters on Wednesday from OTAs. “We’ve got three quarterbacks here now, so it’s kind of leaning towards him not being here, so I wouldn’t say we mentally separated, but we are kind of preparing for him to not be here.”
Those three quarterbacks are Joshua Dobbs, Jacoby Brissett and — of course — Watson, who is dealing with serious lawsuits and accusations alleging sexual misconduct.
“In the locker room I’m around him, in the sauna I’m around him. We talk. We chop it up about everything,” Johnson said. “I don’t think it’s really getting in the way. I think he’s a professional. Once he comes to work it’s about work.”
Browns Not Entertaining Idea of Mayfield Starting
There has been some scuttlebutt that the Browns are hanging on to Mayfield so he can play if Watson is handed a hefty suspension by the league. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski would not entertain the idea of Mayfield starting again for the team and gave his basic canned answer.
“I’m not going to comment on that,” Stefanski said. “Just going to make sure that I deal with everything that we’re dealing with football. Anything that’s outside the building just deal with it day to day.”
Right now, it’s Watson taking all the first-team reps, with Brissett lining up with the second team. At the moment, it would be Brissett — who is 14-23 as a starter — who would replace Watson if a suspension comes down from the NFL.
“We’re repping the quarterbacks appropriately and as more information becomes available you may modify and adapt what you do,” Stefanski said.
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