It seems the Browns aren’t parting ways with quarterback Baker Mayfield in the near future.
Cleveland plans to stick with Mayfield for 2022 as the team enters its offseason, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported Sunday, despite a losing record of 7-9 so far this season. The former first-overall pick, who has struggled under center amid injuries, is said to have met with head coach Kevin Stefanski on Friday, with sources noting they’re “on the same page.”
Mayfield will miss the Browns’ final game of the season Sunday against the Bengals as he readies to undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. The 26-year-old quarterback had reportedly been playing through the injury since the start of the season.
“I’ve continued to lay it out on the line and I haven’t been healthy and tried to fight for our guys,” Mayfield told reporters Monday following the Browns’ loss to the Steelers last week. Right now, I’m pretty damn beat up to be honest with you. There’s no way around it.”
Mayfield’s numbers also dropped this year compared to last. Through 14 games this season, the quarterback has thrown for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. In 2020 — the same year the Browns went on a playoff run — Mayfield logged 3,563 yards for 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 16 games.
Beyond a production standpoint, there were also rumors of a rift between Mayfield and Stefanski, the Browns’ second-year coach. Last week, a report from Cleveland.com detailed alleged friction between the two. Sources told the publication that Mayfield felt that Stefanski’s playcalling abilities “didn’t always put him in position to succeed or play to this strengths,” per the report.
Mayfield later dismissed allegations of tension between himself and Stefanski in a fiery tweet aimed at Cleveland’s local media.
“Clickbait. You and many other Cleveland local media continue to be drama stirring reporters with no sources or facts. Don’t put words in my mouth so you can put food on your table. I’m not your puppet,” the quarterback wrote Thursday.
With the Browns appearing to move forward with Mayfield, it seems he will play out the final year of his rookie contract at $18.858 million, which is fully guaranteed.