Baker Mayfield‘s days as the unquestioned starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns may be numbered. Entering the year as a popular Super Bowl pick, many believed the No. 1 overall pick from the 2018 NFL Draft would help elevate his team deep into the playoffs. Months later, at 7-8 in last place of the AFC North, it’s clear Mayfield hasn’t taken any steps forward in his fourth season as the starter.
- Baker Mayfield stats (2020): 62.8%, 3,563 yards, 26 TD, 8 INT, 222.7 YPG (11-5)
- Baker Mayfield stats (2021): 62.4%, 2,825 yards, 15 TD, 11 INT, 217.3 YPG (6-7)
One could certainly argue Mayfield playing through numerous injuries has held him back from performing his best, but with Mayfield entering a contract year in 2022, he needs to figure it out, sooner or later. The Browns have a talented roster, but if Mayfield continues to limit their high-scoring potential, there’s a bigger case to be made for someone else to take over under center.
Which, might be exactly what the organization envisions in 2022. Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal believes the Browns are “likely to” add competition for Mayfield’s QB gig starting next year.
Cleveland Browns ready to open can of worms
Should the Browns decide to not pay Mayfield this offseason, there are a few intriguing veterans set to hit the market. Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston after he recovers from his ACL tear, and Ryan Fitzpatrick could likely all reasonably create some additional heat behind Mayfield, but if they wanted to swing for the fences, there could be several other options.
The Akron Beacon Journal mentioned Aaron Rodgers, who recently took down the Browns as one of the bigger fish that could potentially be available. There are also the recent reports of the Browns looking to get involved in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes. And, last but not least, Russell Wilson could become available, and be interested in a roster ready to win.
For the Browns, it makes too much sense not to look into acquiring any of the three franchise quarterbacks. So far, Mayfield hasn’t been able to make a big enough impact in the win column on game day, yet there are many other options that could become available. We’ll see where the organization goes from here.