CLEVELAND, Ohio – Baker Mayfield isn’t the only Browns quarterback to knock out Cleveland.
A league source told cleveland.com that they traded Keenum, 34, for the Bills on Saturday in a seventh-round pick, and signed former Colts player Jacoby Brissett, to replace him.
The deal came a day after Brown made the massive trade for Deshaun Watson, sending three first-round picks to the Texans, a third player in 2023, and a fourth-round player in 2024. They also took back a fifth player in 2024 and also gave him a new five-year deal. Valued at $230 million fully guaranteed.
The Browns paid Keenum, 34, his $1 million bonus owed Friday, and reworked his deal to carry out the deal with the Bills. In the third and final year of Brown’s contract, Keenum earned his base salary of $6.1 million, a prorated signing bonus of $1.33 million, and a bonus of $1 million for a cap of about $8.4 million for 2022. But they restructured to make it happen. She’s more suited to Buffalo, and she basically bought the seventh-round pick for $1 million.
As for Brissett, he gives Brown a younger backup (29) and one with a skill set that closely aligns with the mobile and athletic Watson.
Keenum, who led the Vikings to a record 11-3 and NFC Championship in 2017 with Kevin Stefanski as their quarterback coach, went 2-0 with Brown this season at the expense of Mayfield, beating the Broncos 17-14 and the Bengals 21.-16 at the season finale. The Bengals rested most of their starts in that match, but Keenum did his job at a high level nonetheless.
Keenum was a mentor to Mayfield, and he stood by his side during a challenging 2021 season, one in which he tore a disjointed left shoulder in week two and had his first receiver work his way away from the team in week eight.
“I sat front row on one of the toughest, toughest performances of a quarterback I’ve ever seen, culminating the other night and how he wrestled his tail to really bring us back to that game I think he was struggling with a lot of things,” Keenum said, heading towards the end. “He’s one of the toughest guys I know, and he’s a fighter. He came to fight every day and he pushed a lot of ordeals just to get on the field on Sunday. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, and he’s grown. I’ve already had a lot of respect for him, and he’s grown as the season went on.” Yeah, it’s unfortunate the way the season ended. Nobody wants this, the way it went, Becker for sure. Nobody really wants this, but it’s tough. It’s a tough football league. That’s kind of the case sometimes.”
Keenum was one of the most positive leaders on the team, and helped unite the players during adversity. He was grateful to start the final against the Bengals, even if it was a meaningless match.
“Like I said before, this is the National Football League,” Keenum said. “You have guys in this locker room, myself included, and I can speak for myself, who have been dreaming of playing in the NFL since we were kids, all of us. It’s a dream come true to be able to go out and represent not just the name on the back of our jerseys. – Our family name – But the name on the front. There is a lot of pride. There is a lot of pride in Cleveland. I experienced that in the two short years I was here. We have a lot of pride, we have a lot of things to play for, and that’s what started me just yet. ”
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