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Report: Browns Out of Running for Deshaun Watson



Deshaun Watson

The Cleveland Browns are reportedly out of the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

According to ESPN’s Jake Trotter, the Browns and Watson met on Tuesday, and while Cleveland was attempting to convince him to waive his no-trade clause, Watson removed them from contention instead.

The report of Watson’s disinterest comes just a day after Cleveland’s current starter Baker Mayfield posted a cryptic farewell message to Twitter that seemingly signaled he’ll be gone this offseason.

Instead, Cleveland is going to attempt to go back to Mayfield as the team’s starter for the 2022, according to a report by Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, who said Mayfield has been preparing for any eventuality.

Selected with first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Mayfield has been inconsistent over his four years as Cleveland’s starter. He set a then rookie record with 27 touchdown passes in his first campaign, but regressed in 2019 tossing nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns.

Mayfield rebounded in 2019, leading the Browns to their first playoff win in over 20 years. He threw for 26 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. Mayfield regressed once again under the weight of expectations last season. Although he battled injuries, the Browns finished a disappointing 8-9.

It was reported earlier this offseason that the Browns would not extend Mayfield’s contract this offseason. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

With Cleveland out of the picture, the three finalists for Watson appear to be the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, with the latter becoming the frontrunner in just the last day.

Watson sat the entire 2021 season after being accused of sexual assault, but was one of the league’s best passers the year prior. He threw for a league-leading 4,823 yards with 33 touchdowns. Charges were not brought against Watson after a grand jury hearing in Texas last week. Civil lawsuits, as well as potential NFL punishment, are still pending.

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