The first shoe dropped in Cleveland on Wednesday afternoon with the Browns trading quarterback Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick.
There was speculation that Mayfield may stick with the Browns depending on the outcome of the Deshaun Watson investigation, but that wasn’t the case.
92.3 The Fan's Browns beat reporter Daryl Ruiter gave his take on the trade and his thoughts on Watson’s potential discipline on an emergency episode of It’s Always Gameday in Cleveland.
“The Browns wanted to move on as quickly as possible,” Ruiter said (4:13 in player above). “I don’t think that there’s anything special about July 6th or why it was officially consummated now as opposed to a week or two ago, other than legitimately, honestly, these things take time and procedures and getting fine print negotiated or in place.”
Ruiter repeatedly said that Mayfield wouldn’t play for the Browns again and that came true with this trade. There may have been a better return in a better quarterback market, but there were only a few teams interested in Mayfield.
“They’re just getting him off the roster and saving $8 million. That’s basically what the Browns have been able to do in this situation,” he continued.
Ruiter then turned to the big story in Cleveland and across the NFL: Deshaun Watson.
“I don’t think Deshaun Watson will be allowed to play in Week 1,” Ruiter said (8:15 in player above). “And I know that there are going to be some people that will take offense to me saying that, but I’m giving my honest opinion on the situation.
“I do think that Deshaun Watson will be disciplined in some way, shape or form. I also believe that he will play in 2022 for the Cleveland Browns. I just don’t know how many games he will be able to play. I don’t think that he’s getting suspended for the full season.”
The Browns brought in Jacoby Brissett this offseason to be the veteran backup. Ruiter believes that he’ll split time with Watson this season, depending on the length of the suspension.
“Again, I don’t believe that Deshaun’s getting suspended for the whole year. I think he does play this year.”