Aug 19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Mullens (10) throws a pass against the New England Patriots at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns are dealing with a troubling number of players testing positive for COVID-19, which means that they could have to play on Sunday without a lot of them.

One of those players is quarterback Baker Mayfield, who tested positive and could miss the game if he doesn’t have at least two negative tests by Saturday.

Assuming that Mayfield doesn’t play, that would mean Case Keenum would likely get the start for the Browns against the Las Vegas Raiders. However, the Browns will need a backup quarterback in case Keenum gets hurt, which means they needed to either sign someone new or sign Nick Mullens from the practice squad.

They decided to sign Mullens on Thursday so that they at least have a backup plan in case of emergency.

Mullens, a 26-year-old quarterback out of Southern Miss, is in his fifth season in the NFL. He spent the first four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and started 16 games with them between 2018 and 2020. Over his career, he’s thrown for 4,714 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions.

After a brief stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, Mullens has spent most of the season on the Browns’ practice squad and this will be the second time he’s been elevated to the main roster. We’ll see how long it lasts, as that’ll likely depend on Mayfield’s status as well as some other things.

Meanwhile, Cleveland currently has 11 starters on the COVID-19 list as they head into the weekend. We’ll see if any of them become available by the time they play the Raiders at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

UPDATE: Sounds like Mullens might end up being the starter now that Case Keenum has tested positive for COVID as well.

[Jake Trotter]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to