Baker Mayfield is entering his second year in the NFL with sky-high expectations and praise coming from all directions.
The former No. 1 overall pick in the draft gave the Cleveland Browns hope last season, which has many excited about his prospects in Year 2, with some analysts even pegging Mayfield among the MVP favorites.
Mayfield’s play on the field is not a question — the former Heisman winner has shown why he’s special.
Last season after supplanting Tyrod Taylor as the starter in Week 3 against the Jets, Mayfield threw for 3,725 yards and had 27 touchdowns — breaking Peyton Manning’s rookie touchdown record. And he’s got more weapons to work with this year, with the addition of superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
The problem is that Mayfield is making headlines for the wrong reasons this offseason with the things he’s saying, showing a lack of maturity that the Browns should be at least a little concerned about.
Mayfield Sparks Drama With Duke Johnson Jr. Comments
The offseason drama started at minicamp, when Mayfield was asked about running back Duke Johnson Jr.’s trade request and if it put the veteran back in an awkward spot in the locker room.
“It’s not awkward. It’s self-inflicted,” Mayfield said. “I hope he does his job … Obviously, he’s going to handle his stuff how he wants, but you’re either on this train or you’re not. It’s moving. You can get out of the way or you can join us. So it is what it is … You got guys in our locker room that are dying to get playing time and dying to be here. Duke has been here for years but it’s about what are you doing right now.”
Baker’s comments reportedly set some of the Browns’ veterans off, leading to a discussion where the players hashed out their differences. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry responded to the report and said Mayfield’s comments were a “non-issue” and they were being blown out of proportion by the media. Regardless it’s almost an unwritten rule in the NFL that players don’t talk about teammates contract situations or trade requests to the media, which is exactly what Mayfield did.
Baker Mayfield Goes After Texas, Ehlinger
Mayfield found himself back in the headlines this week for more comments he made, which this time were directed at the Texas Longhorns and the team’s 20-year-old quarterback, Sam Ehlinger.
“They said the same thing when they beat Notre Dame a couple of years ago, and they won like three games after that,” Mayfield said. “I’m sick of that crap.”
Mayfield went on to harp on Ehlinger — four years his junior and a college student — just a little more.
Follow the Heavy Cleveland Browns page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
“He couldn’t beat Lake Travis, so I don’t really care [about] his opinion on winning,” Mayfield said. “Westlake is a great program, but the two best quarterbacks to come out of there are Drew Brees and Nick Foles. Sam can stay down there in Texas.”
“That will stir the pot,” Mayfield added. “He doesn’t like me, and I hope he knows I don’t like him either.”
The Red River Rivalry is huge and it’s understandable for Mayfield to throw a few jabs at his old rival. However, the comments on Ehlinger were excessive, no matter how much disdain Mayfield has for the young QB.
Baker Mayfield is a rising NFL star, with a season laden with expectations ahead of him. There’s no reason for him to be going after a college quarterback, regardless of history. If there’s a QB he should be worried about, it should AFC North rival Lamar Jackson, who has already thrown fuel on the Browns-Ravens rivalry this offseason.
Beckham has talked about his desire to make the Browns the “new Patriots.” The last thing Tom Brady is doing in his preparation for the season is getting on the radio to rip college kids.
Mayfield has proven he can be the man for the Browns on the field. Now he needs to start handling himself away from the gridiron with the same amount of poise he shows in the pocket.