Sources say that the Browns will enter the offseason with plans for Baker Mayfield to remain their quarterback in 2022.
Cleveland, which was able to make the playoffs last season, is now at 7-9. Mayfield, who tried to overcome a number of serious injuries and throw seven interceptions in his three previous games, has fallen to 7-9. He will miss Sunday’s game against the Bengals, and will undergo surgery next week for a non-throwing injury to his left shoulder.
Many scenarios have been speculated, including Mayfield’s desire to leave and Browns’ desire to continue their journey. It doesn’t seem like either of these developments are on the horizon, unless there is a significant shift.
Mayfield and Browns coach Kevin Stefanski spoke Friday in normal exit meetings. Sources say they are on the same page. The No. Mayfield was the No. 1 overall selection in 2018. He is entering his final year of his rookie agreement, which is fully guaranteed at $18.858 millions. The expectation is that Mayfield will finish it in Cleveland.
In a December NFL Network interview, Mayfield said that the “trouble part” of this season was a combination of many internal factors. It’s not just the noise from outside.
It wasn’t perfect, but it was a start. Mayfield broke his labrum in the left shoulder during the season but decided to continue playing. Mayfield also sustained a shoulder injury and was forced to miss three games.
It was statistically a step back from Mayfield’s impressive 2020, which saw him lead Cleveland to the playoffs. Mayfield is currently on injured reserve. Case Keenum will play Sunday against the Bengals. (Practice squad and IR players will meet with Andrew Berry and Stefanski before the season ends.
There were communication issues this season and frustration with the product on the field, but there’s plenty to be criticized. Everything was rocky, from execution issues to game-plan issues. This is what happens often when a team fails to make the playoffs.
According to recent conversations, the issue are not too difficult to resolve. Sources claim that all parties will continue to work together on improving their relationships.
Logistically, a trade is not very sensible. How could the Browns possibly know that they would upgrade their QB and simultaneously try to trade a QB in his final year of his contract, who is also recovering from shoulder surgery. How can Mayfield request a trade in order to find a winning team? (Cleveland just made it to the playoffs last year, and will be returning its core for 2022 with a defense that has come together down the stretch), and while Mayfield is undergoing extensive rehab for his shoulder.
Sources say that Mayfield could be playing his rookie contract with the Browns and Mayfield moving forward in 2022. If he plays well, Mayfield could follow the path of Kirk Cousins, playing on franchise tag to franchise tag unless the sides can agree to an extension.
It is certain that this topic will be a hot topic next season. All indications point to Mayfield’s and Browns moving in the same direction.