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Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield likely to remain starter in 2022

Matt Johnson

Cleveland Browns starting quarterback Baker Mayfield went through a turbulent 2021 season, battling injuries and inconsistency. Following months of speculation regarding his future, it seems Cleveland’s front office made its decision.

As NFL teams evaluate a rather pedestrian 2022 quarterback class, there is a buzz at the NFL Combine about the Browns’ offseason plans. However, the talk centers around moves that could be made to strengthen the offense outside of the quarterback position.

  • Baker Mayfield stats: 60.5% completion rate, 17-13 TD-INT, 3,010 passing yards, 83.1 QB rating

According to Zac Jackson and Jeff Howe of The Athletic, the Browns intend to overhaul their receiving corps this offseason. The goal, per those inside the organization, is to create a better offense surrounding Mayfield as the starter.

While it might not be a decision that is loved by fans, there is a solid rationale behind it. Mayfield’s fully-guaranteed salary ($18.858 million) in 2022 still puts him far behind the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL.

The added cap flexibility will allow Cleveland to address many of its needs, both through the 2022 NFL Draft and free agency. For a front office that must be savvy with its moves, Cleveland is seemingly taking the soundest approach.

Related: 2022 NFL Power Rankings – Outlook for all 32 teams entering summer

Things might be different if the talent pool at quarterback in free agency or the NFL Draft were stronger. It also doesn’t help that two of the top names many hoped would be on the trade market – Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson – are likely staying with their teams.

Mayfield will get another shot to make things work. If he doesn’t reach the organization’s expectations, the Browns can use their estimated $85 million in cap space next year to find a viable starter.

Related: 2022 Cleveland Browns mock draft