The Cleveland Browns will not be pursuing reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers in a trade this season, another sign that the team is happy with current quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The Browns have been aggressive with roster improvements since Andrew Berry took over but will not be going after Rodgers, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. The rumors began to swirl due to an ESPN piece speculating the best landing spots for the disgruntled Green Bay QB.
Cabot reported that the decision is more about the faith the team has in Mayfield and less about Rodgers.
“The Browns believe their 2018 No. 1 overall pick can win Super Bowls for them, and they won’t try to trade for Rodgers regardless of the compensation.
They’re pleased that Mayfield turned the corner in 2020′s second half, throwing 20 touchdowns against only three interceptions in his final 12 games, including playoffs. Mayfield led them to an 11-5 record and a narrow 22-17 loss to the Chiefs in the divisional playoffs. The Browns believe he can take them further this year with an overhauled defense and Odell Beckham Jr. coming back from his torn ACL.”
Browns Have Maintained They’ll Be Aggressive With Roster
In the proposed deal by ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, the Browns would trade a 2022 first-round pick, 2023 first-round pick, Mayfield and tight end David Njoku for Rodgers and cornerback Josh Jackson.
Berry has said in the past he’d “pick up the phone” to hear out any offer, but the thought of Rodgers being dealt to Cleveland is more fiction than anything else.
“I won’t discuss any specific player in terms of trade opportunities, trade calls or anything like that,” Berry told reporters last offseason. “I did work under probably the strongest wheeler-dealer in the league under [Eagles GM] Howie Roseman and it’s something that you always pick up the phone and you listen to anything across the table.”
Berry made some key moves this offseason to improve the Browns defense, landing names like safety John Johnson III and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Browns Picked Up Mayfield’s Option This Offseason
Mayfield earned the Browns’ trust with a strong first season under Kevin Stefanski. He tossed 26 touchdowns and just eight interceptions last season, showing major improvement down the stretch and helping lead the Browns to their first postseason victory in over a quarter-century.
His 2022 salary will be $18.89 million and the next decision the Browns have to make is whether or not to lock Mayfield in for the foreseeable future with what will surely be a lucrative deal if the current QB market is any indication.
Mayfield, however, said he’s not worried about an extension. With the Browns set to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender, he just wants to pile up the wins and the rest will take care of itself.
“The fifth-year option just happened so a long-term deal is a little bit on the back burner for me,” Mayfield said. “I am not worried about it. I want to go out and win games. I think everything happens for a reason so we will see what happens.”
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