Thursday's NFL: Mayfield requests trade after Browns chase Watson
Baker Mayfield wants out of Cleveland. The Browns aren't wiling to let him go just yet.
Mayfield requested to be traded from the Browns on Thursday after the team failed in its pursuit of Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Mayfield asked to be dealt shortly after the Browns were told by Watson that he wasn't coming to Cleveland, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
The team, in turn, denied Mayfield's demand, said a person with knowledge of the Browns' decision.
Led by Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam, the Browns sent a delegation to Houston on Tuesday and met with Watson, who became a potential option after a grand jury declined to indict him last week. Watson had been accused by 22 women of sexual misconduct.
Watson is also being pursed by Atlanta, New Orleans and Carolina.
The Browns' overtures toward Watson triggered a strong reaction from Mayfield, whose feelings were hurt. He ended his social media hiatus by posting a letter on Twitter and Instagram, expressing disappointment and confusion over the situation.
Mayfield struggled last season after hurting his left shoulder in Week 2 as the Browns fell way short of expectations and missed the playoffs. Browns general manager Andrew Berry has said he was confident Mayfield would bounce back in 2022 and be the starter.
However, it now appears the relationship between Mayfield and the Browns may be broken beyond repair. Cleveland may have to trade for another QB, sign a free agent or draft a prospect.
Titans release 7-time Pro Bowler Julio Jones after 1 year
Nashville, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans released seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones after one season Thursday, designating him as a post-June 1 release to create much-needed salary cap space.
The Titans traded for Jones last June, trying to rev up the passing game by pairing the 10-year veteran with A.J. Brown coming off his own Pro Bowl season. But Jones struggled with a hamstring issue that limited him to 10 games, and he had the worst season of his career with 31 catches for 434 yards and one touchdown.
This move saves Tennessee approximately $11.3 million in cap space, though the Titans won't be able to access that until June 1. Jones can sign with another team immediately.
Jones, 33, did catch six passes with four going for first downs and 62 yards in the Titans' divisional loss to Cincinnati. He still ranks first in NFL history in averaging 91.9 yards per game, and Jones ranks 17th all time with 13,330 yards receiving. His 879 receptions rank 25th, and he also has 61 career touchdowns.
The receiver is the fifth player the Titans have released trying to clear salary cap space before the new league year started Wednesday and to keep outside linebacker Harold Landry and center Ben Jones off the free agent market.
Those two deals are cap friendly, costing the Titans only $8.4 million this season. But Spotrac.com estimated the Titans with $720,675 of cap space. The Titans still need to upgrade their wide receiving group and find a No. 1 tight end among other needs.
The Titans also announced they agreed to a multi-year deal with offensive lineman Jamarco Jones. The 6-foot-4, 293-pound Jones played 36 games over four seasons with Seattle. He has started at four different positions on the offensive line, including both tackle and guard spots.
The lineman was a fifth-round pick out of Ohio State in the 2018 draft where he started the last 27 games of his college career at left tackle.
Bills cut receiver Cole Beasley day after signing Von Miller
Cole Beasley can forget trying to negotiate a trade out of Buffalo now that he’s a free agent after being cut by the Bills on Thursday.
The Bills made the move to cut their top slot receiver to free up salary cap space a day after making a huge splash in free agency by signing two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Von Miller to a six-year contract.
Beasley’s tenure in Buffalo was already in question with his release coming two weeks after the Bills granted the 10th-year player permission to negotiate a trade. Beasley had one year left on a four-year contract he signed with Buffalo as one of the team’s key free-agent additions in 2019 after spending his first seven seasons in Dallas.
His departure further drains Buffalo’s depth at receiver behind Stefon Diggs, with Emmanuel Sanders entering free agency and having yet to determine whether he’ll retire. Gabriel Davis returns for a third season and Buffalo re-signed Isaiah McKenzie to a two-year contract on Monday.
Though Beasley finished the season with a career-best-matching 82 catches for a second consecutive year, his production dropped from 967 yards receiving and four touchdowns in 2020 to 693 yards and one TD this past season.
He also missed a key game, a 33-21 win over AFC East rival New England on Dec. 26, after being placed on the COVID-19 list.
Beasley's final season with Buffalo will also be remembered for him being one of the league’s most vocal anti-vaccination critics last summer. He most notably threatened to retire in June after questioning the NFL and NFLPA jointly adopting rules requiring unvaccinated players to stay clear of people.
... The New York Jets and defensive end Jacob Martin have agreed to terms on a three-year deal worth up to $16.5 million, according to a person with direct knowledge of the contract.
... The Dallas Cowboys are releasing right tackle La'el Collins in the second cost-cutting move involving one of their starters on offense, two people with knowledge of the decision said Thursday.