Andrew Berry: Browns 'were transparent with our intentions' with Mayfield's reps prior to Watson trade

The Baker Mayfield saga will persist until the Browns trade him, and since they haven't, general manager Andrew Berry was the latest to field questions regarding the lame-duck quarterback.

Berry was asked Friday about recent comments made by Mayfield in which he indicated he felt "disrespected" by the Browns in how they handled their pursuit and eventual acquisition of quarterback Deshaun Watson. Unsurprisingly, Berry didn't take the bait.

"We were transparent with our intentions with his reps," Berry said. "That being said, I think we can all understand how Baker feels. Sometimes, things in the NFL -- whether it's team-related, coach-related, player-related, they may not work out. Baker is a competitive and driven young man who has had success as a quarterback and will continue to have success as a quarterback, so (I) definitely understand it."

Mayfield's 2021 season has been rehashed countless times since it ended. The quick summary: He started off with a tough loss in Kansas City, injured his shoulder in Week 2 against Houston and ended up playing through pain and a worsening physical condition throughout all but a meaningless Week 18 game. His performance suffered accordingly, and with the Browns believing they're equipped to win now, they couldn't set themselves up for a potential repeat performance in 2022.

Berry therefore acquired Watson and fully guaranteed his five-year, $230 million deal. That meant Mayfield's time in Cleveland was done, of course, but he's still on the roster, meaning he'll continue to be discussed.

Cleveland, however, is looking forward, with Berry declining to divulge any details related to a potential trade involving Mayfield, and instead turning toward who the Browns plan to have on their roster at the position in 2022. That includes three new quarterbacks: Watson, veteran backup Jacoby Brissett and Josh Dobbs.

All three were in the building this week for offseason workouts. Berry explained Cleveland's logic in acquiring Brissett, who would be in line to start if Watson is suspended by the NFL for any length of time. Watson is currently facing 22 civil suits alleging sexual assault and misconduct. The NFL began investigating those allegations in March of 2021.

"Backup quarterback, for us, will always be a priority just because the way that performance at that position goes, oftentimes (it) defines your season," Berry said. "Just like you want to be insulated, whether it's through injury or lack of availability at other positions, it really is the same thing at quarterback. Jacoby is an individual who is very talented, he's seasoned, he's played in a number of different offenses and he's been called into action in several situations, and several unique situations and has performed well. He was a guy that we were excited about going into the spring and we were fortunate enough to be able to acquire him."

Whether it's Watson or Brissett in Week 1, we know one certainty: Cleveland's first-team offense won't include Mayfield. We'll learn in the coming weeks whether he might end up in another team's starting lineup.

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