CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — For the first time since the Cleveland Browns introduced Deshaun Watson last month, Head Coach Kevin Stefanski talked with media Wednesday with off-season workout programs underway.
The hot topics? Quarterbacks.
The team is saying hello to Watson, Jacoby Brissett and Josh Dobbs and goodbye to Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum.
“I think we felt we added three good players, and ultimately, they do share some skill sets,” said Stefanski. “Not all the exact same in that regard, but like you mention, bigger and a little more athletic.”
Mayfield is still on the roster. But the Browns are keeping quiet on what they’re going to do with him.
“That’s a unique situation. It’s fluid,” said Stefanski. “We’re going to work through as we go each day.”
Denzel Ward was drafted three spots behind Mayfield in 2018. While he wouldn’t elaborate on the Baker situation, Mayfield did reach out to Ward when news broke of his new five-year, $100 million contract.
“Definitely kept on contact with Baker,” he said. “He congratulated me on the deal, actually. I was appreciative towards him for that.”
Players are aware of the off-the-field issues surrounding Watson, but they trust the Browns made the right decision.
Watson, who faces 22 civil lawsuits from women accusing him of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions.
Watson also faces discipline from the NFL, which is investigating whether he violated the league’s personal-conduct policy.
The three-time Pro Bowl QB has professed his innocence. Two grand juries in Texas have declined to indict him on any criminal charges.
The Browns did their own background check on Watson, and owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam felt so confident in the research — and after personally meeting with Watson — that they signed him to a fully guaranteed $230 million contract after he waived his no-trade clause to come to Cleveland.
“I feel that Andrew Berry (executive vice president and general manager of the Browns) and those guys did their due diligence, and they took car of their responsibility to look into everything they had to look into with Deshaun and everything that’s going on,” said Ward. “So I trust those guys and what they did.”
No one knows when or if Watson will be suspended for the season. For new Browns back-up QB and six-year NFL vet, Jacoby Brissett, he’s always approached his preparation as being ready to start.
“I’ll always prepare myself like a starter because when those opportunities present themselves, I want to show I am that,” he said. “Obviously, here to support the room. Deshaun, Josh and all those guys in there.”
“I think that’s part of our job…that everybody has to be ready to play, and as more information becomes available, then we can adjust,” said Stefanski.
Stefanski added in his short, limited time with him, Watson has been open to growing and trying new schemes or concepts on the field that he hasn’t done before, and teammates are welcoming him with open arms.
The Browns won’t comment on bringing back Jarvis Landry or Jadaveon Clowney. Landry was visiting the New Orleans Saints Wednesday. Clowney hasn’t met with any teams yet.
With Ward’s new contract done, many wonder if Clowney will be the next.
Ward said Wednesday he has been talking with Clowney recently and wants him back on the Browns defense.