Browns GM said team was open with Mayfield about QB plans

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Browns general manager Andrew Berry understands Baker Mayfield’s hurt feelings. He doesn’t agree with his assertion the team misled the quarterback, who is currently in limbo.

Mayfield recently said he felt “disrespected 100%” by the Browns, who told him they expected him to return as their starter next season before pursuing and signing Deshaun Watson to a record-setting, $230 million contract.

“I was told one thing and they completely did another,” Mayfield said on a podcast.

On Friday, Berry addressed Mayfield’s claims, saying the team was open with the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 about its plans.

“I’ve touched on this previously that we were transparent with our intentions with his reps,” Berry said. “That being said, I think we can all understand how Baker feels and sometimes things in the NFL, whether it’s team-related, coach-related, player-related, they may not work out.

“And Baker is a competitive and driven young man who’s had success as a quarterback and will continue to have success as a quarterback. So definitely understand it.”

Mayfield is still with the Browns as the team tries to work out a trade. There hasn’t been much of a market to this point, and Cleveland’s desire to deal him is complicated by the QB’s $18.8 million contract next season.

At his pre-draft news conference Friday, Berry wouldn’t comment on specifics whether a trade for Mayfield was imminent or the possibility he could be on Cleveland’s roster after next week’s draft.

“Quite honestly anything regarding speculation on the future, several months out, that’s probably unfair because we realize that circumstances in the NFL change, and quite honestly my focus has been on the draft next week, just because we’re inside of a week,” Berry said.

The GM dismissed whether Mayfield’s comments would do any damage to the team’s reputation in dealing with players.

“In terms of comments or anything, I really don’t pay a ton of attention to noise or kind of outside narratives, so that is really kind of a nonfactor,” he said. “We try and stay in communication with all of our player reps, especially with sensitive or unique situations, and this is no different.”

Mayfield’s four-year stint with Cleveland likely ended after a season in which he struggled after injuring his left shoulder. The 26-year-old has been rehabbing after undergoing surgery, and as expected didn’t report to the Browns’ offseason program this week.

On Saturday, Mayfield will have a statue of his likeness unveiled following Oklahoma’s spring game. That honor goes to the school’s Heisman Trophy winners.

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