June 29, 2022

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Brown should cut Baker Mayfield and be done with it

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers

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Brown had a bird in his hand. They pursued the second proverb in the bush. It worked. Yet they still cling to the bird in his hand.

Chris Sims and I spent a lot of time during Monday PFT Live Clarifying the argument that it is wrong for Brown to sit on the middle Baker MayfieldNow that they’re all involved in the quarterback Deshaun Watson. It’s a classic sunk cost. They invested $230 million in acquiring Watson. What’s another $18.8 million (minus what he’d earn with a new team) if they simply cut the rope at Mayfield?

Brown believes that the sunk cost can be partially recovered, or perhaps even fully recovered, if a currently non-existent business opportunity materializes sometime between now and the start of the regular season, or perhaps even the trade deadline. But it depends on a chain of events that most likely will not happen.

First, the team needs to lose its current start. Second, this team needs to choose an approach other than the “next man”. Third, Brown should be the ones to get the deal done for Mayfield before the 49ers can take over Jimmy Gaoppolo.

There is another way to recover all or part of the sunk costs. If Mayfield eventually cried his uncle and waived a portion of his guaranteed salary or if Mayfield said or did something that would justify his being cut for reasons other than skill, injury or cover, Brown could emerge with a victory.

Meanwhile, Mayfield’s continued presence on the roster creates another distraction for the Browns. It is definitely a distraction. Even if Brown wins that interaction with a midfielder they can’t wait to officially remove from the roster, none of it will help them win matches, especially not in 2022.

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Last week’s article ESPN.com Regarding the current mood Between Baker and Browns it appears that the bridge has been obliterated. There is no rebuilding it, even if Watson is suspended for a year and Brown tries to convince Becker to stay in place for another season. If Mayfield and/or those in his camp believed, as ESPN.com reported, that Brown deliberately tried to make him look bad in a prime time game in Pittsburgh, then Mayfield ended up with Browns.

Owner Jimmy Haslam and/or chief strategy officer (who has yet to formulate many effective strategies in Cleveland) might say Paul DePodesta “Not if he wants to get $18.8 million this year.” But this is the kind of misguided and short-sighted thinking that results in Brown being preoccupied with factors other than having a winning team.

Although Mayfield doesn’t appear to be very popular with his teammates, it’s fair to the other players to conclude that the Browns have done Baker in a sloppy fashion. They told him after the season that he would be the man for 2022. Then, they told his agents at Scouting Combine that he would be the man, unless they could get someone like Watson, Aaron Rodgersor Russell Wilson. Then, Brown said the Watson trade had been in the making for five months — even if it expired in five years, fully guaranteed Hail Mary.

JuJu was right. Brown is brown. Even as the team becomes more competitive, the dysfunction remains in the organization. The way they treat Mayfield proves it. Determined to treat him like a property rather than a human whose career hinges on putting himself in a position to find a new home sooner rather than later, Brown sends a very bad message to current and future team members.

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But hey, no one should be surprised. With a Chief Strategy Officer on the payroll, there’s always a strategy for everything. Even when the best strategy is to let go of strategies and do the right thing.

The right thing to do in this specific case is to cut Mayfield and move on. It’s in his best interests, and it’s in the team’s best interest — even if the chief strategy officer fails to see it.