The Cleveland Browns are set to open up minicamp next week. While this portion of the offseason program is mandatory and subject to fines if a player decides to skip out, there are some exceptions. The latest example of that comes with quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has been excused from participating in these workouts by the team, as confirmed by CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson.

This mutually agreed upon absence comes as Mayfield's trade request remains unfulfilled. The former No. 1 overall pick requested a deal that sends him out of Cleveland following the Browns' blockbuster trade for former Texans signal-caller Deshaun Watson. Given that the club is moving in a new direction with Watson at the helm, Mayfield's presence would likely be more of a distraction for the team as it continues setting the foundation for the 2022 regular season. As for the player, it's also highly unlikely he'd want to strap on a helmet for the team that just replaced him, so it makes sense from both sides. 

"It's in the mutual interest of both sides for us to move on," Mayfield said in a statement to ESPN back in March regarding the trade request. "The relationship is too far gone to mend. It's in the best interests of both sides to move on."

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So far, Mayfield's trade market hasn't exactly been steaming hot. There are logical fits -- such as the Seahawks or Panthers -- but nothing has been executed at this stage of the offseason. There were reports that Cleveland engaged Carolina in trade talks surrounding Mayfield throughout the NFL Draft, but that was with the caveat that the Panthers absorb the bulk of his fifth-year option. Under that option, Mayfield is due just under $18.9 million fully guaranteed for this coming season. 

Because that number is so lofty, the Browns would much rather trade the quarterback and have another team take on some of his salary rather than release him and have to foot the bill entirely. That's why Cleveland is reportedly unwilling to simply cut ties with a release at this juncture. 

There's also the uncertain future surrounding their new quarterback in Watson, who is now facing 24 accusations of alleged sexual misconduct. While it seems highly unlikely that any fences could be mended between Mayfield and the Browns, the club could be in a position where Watson isn't available to them for some or all of next season as the NFL continues its investigation into those allegations and could hand down a significant suspension. It's possible the Browns are content with hanging onto Mayfield until a team is willing to take on a significant portion of his contract as they wait for the NFL's decision regarding Watson. The club also has veteran Jacoby Brissett as a backup quarterback.