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Baker Mayfield expected to be Cleveland Browns starting QB in 2022

Matt Johnson

Coming off a disappointing season for the Cleveland Browns and quarterback Baker Mayfield, many speculated that changes could be looming this offseason in Ohio. Instead, as their season draws to a close, the Browns seem poised to stick by their same plan next offseason with Mayfield under center.

Entering the summer, Mayfield and the Browns held contract talks with the hopes of agreeing to a long-term deal with the face of the franchise. But the 26-year-old quarterback struggled and dealt with injuries, limiting his effectiveness and severely restricting the Browns’ passing attack.

Amid the woes, there was a reported rift between Mayfield and head coach Kevin Stefanski. It added fuel to rumors that Mayfield would either be out of Cleveland in 2022 or face far greater quarterback competition in training camp. Despite the disappointing results, though, it seems the Browns have made their decision.

  • Baker Mayfield stats (2021): 60.53% completion rate, 17-13 TD-INT ratio, 215 ypg, 83.1 QB rating, 43 sacks

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Browns plan to retain Mayfield in 2022 with the expectation he will be their starting quarterback next season.

Mayfield and Stefanski met on Friday to discuss what transpired this season and how they can improve next fall. The two reportedly came away from that meeting on the same page, with the expectation that Mayfield plays out the final year of his contract with Cleveland in 2022.

The No. 1 pick in the 2018 FL Draft is owed a fully guaranteed $18.858 million next season in the final year of his rookie deal. While every dollar counts on the 2022 salary cap, it would still make him one of the lower-paid starting quarterbacks in the NFL.

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There will certainly be plenty of areas for Mayfield to improve upon. He was one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL on third downs (57.3 QB rating, 50.51% completion rate) this season and struggled in key situations.

While Mayfield’s spot on the roster seems safe for now, it would be a surprise if the Browns didn’t upgrade the backup quarterback position this offseason.