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Browns' Baker Mayfield requests trade amid Deshaun Watson sweepstakes

Browns' Baker Mayfield requests trade amid Deshaun Watson sweepstakes
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, shown Oct. 7, 2019, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

March 17 (UPI) -- Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has requested a trade from the organization, saying it is "in the best interests of both sides" to part ways.

"It's in the mutual interest of both sides for us to move on," Mayfield told ESPN on Thursday. "The relationship is too far gone to mend. It's in the best interests of both sides to move on."

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However, league sources told ESPN, NFL Media and Cleveland.com that the Browns don't plan to honor Mayfield's trade request, setting up a potential conflict between the sides.

Mayfield's demand comes on the same day the Browns learned they were out of the running to acquire Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson. According to reports, Cleveland was one of four teams to meet with Watson in the past week to gauge his interest in waiving his no-trade clause.

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The Browns now face uncertainty at the position, though ESPN reported that Cleveland -- upon falling out of contention to land Watson -- would prefer to move forward with Mayfield under center.

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NFL Media reported that Mayfield has a strong interest in joining the Indianapolis Colts, who are in the market for a starting quarterback after dealing Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders.

On Tuesday, Mayfield posted a statement on social media thanking the city of Cleveland and its fans "who truly embraced who I am." The post came as Browns officials were flying back from their Tuesday meeting with Watson.

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Mayfield and his representatives learned about the Browns' meeting with Watson over social media, according to ESPN.

The 26-year-old Mayfield has endured a tumultuous tenure in Cleveland, where he has played under four different head coaches over his first four NFL seasons. He guided the Browns to their first postseason win in 26 years after the 2020 season.

Mayfield, however, sustained a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder in Week 2 of the 2021 season and struggled for the remainder of the year. He finished 27th in QBR as the Browns (8-9) missed the playoffs for the third time in four seasons with Mayfield under center.

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Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, underwent surgery to repair the labrum in January. He is expected to be fully cleared before training camp.

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