The Cleveland Browns will be watching the NFL playoffs from home this season and they’ll likely be spending that time wondering how to get back there next year. It sounds like quarterback Baker Mayfield will be part of those plans.
According to Ian Rapoport & Tom Pelissero, the Browns plans to retain Mayfield as their quarterback.
The #Browns are moving forward with Baker Mayfield as their starting QB, with the parties on the same page heading into the offseason, sources say.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 9, 2022
Mayfield will miss the Browns’ final game of the season to undergo surgery on his non-throwing arm. While that creates some uncertainty around his future, the real fireworks have been around Mayfield and his relationship with head coach Kevin Stefanski. Baker pushed back against a report this past week, calling it “clickbait,” but it’s the latest in a long line of rumors and reports about a strain between the two.
A few weeks back, Mayfield said that he and the Browns had “a lot of internal things” to sort out. Mayfield also complained that the Browns became “too conservative” after building a big lead against the Ravens a few ago in a game they barely won.
Stefanski was asked about the relationship between the two of them this past week and he bluntly answered that “my relationship with Baker is no different (than last year). Good relationship.”
One of the biggest unknowns heading into next season between the Browns and Mayfield was that the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 was entering the final year of his rookie contract, a fully guaranteed $18.858 million fifth-year option, which created the potential scenario that the team might want to decline or trade him before it kicks in. However, it doesn’t sound like that’s the plan. At least for now.
That said, sending Mayfield into the season to play for his next contract, which is a distinct possibility, creates all kinds of scenarios, many of which could get pretty messy.