Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield needs shoulder surgery and the operation might supersede Cleveland wrapping up the 2021 season with Game No. 17 on Sunday.
Cleveland was eliminated from the postseason picture on Sunday. With no playoffs, Mayfield still started Week 17 — a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night — before turning the page to what’s next.
Mayfield was intercepted twice and sacked nine times by the Steelers, punctuating what the former No. 1 overall pick has said was a painful season in more ways than one. Mayfield said he played in the “Monday Night Football” game because of his competitive nature.
“Now it’s time for me to start looking at what’s in the best interest of me and my health,” he said after the game.
Mayfield is tied for 20th in the NFL with 17 touchdown passes and ranks in the bottom third of the league in quarterback rating. His 13 interceptions are tied for ninth most in the NFL.
The Browns haven’t commented on the timing of the surgery, one of the numerous issues that landed Mayfield on the injury report this season. He has a tear in the labrum in his left shoulder.
General manager Andrew Berry did hint at a commitment to Mayfield in August with the Browns coming off of a playoff run. But Berry also said if Mayfield “plays his best” the contract would take care of itself.
An expected farewell from Ben Roethlisberger at Heinz Field might prove to be the last time the Browns start Mayfield. While Cleveland did pick up the fifth-year option on Mayfield, there are no trade restrictions on the option, which pays Mayfield $18.66 million in 2022.
More than half of the NFL’s 32 teams could be in the market for a quarterback in the offseason.
“It’s not gonna always be pretty or smooth, but I’m a fighter,” he said. “If anybody ever questions how much I want it, just turn on this tape. It wasn’t pretty, but I kept going, kept swinging; that’s who I am, and that’s what I will continue to be.”
In addition to the torn labrum, the 26-year-old Mayfield has battled left foot soreness and a right knee contusion this season. He also has had to wear a harness on the left shoulder to prevent it from popping out of place again.
“I’ve continued to lay it out on the line when I haven’t been healthy and tried to fight for our guys,” Mayfield said. “Right now, I’m pretty damn beat up, to be honest with you. There’s no way around it. I gave it everything I had tonight.”
In four seasons as the starter, the 2018 No. 1 overall draft pick has a 29-30 record.
–Field Level Media