Baker Mayfield can clearly remember the moment he found out the Cleveland Browns were getting Odell Beckham Jr. He was sitting on the couch with a friend when his phone lit up with a message from his head coach, Freddie Kitchens.
“It was pretty hectic,” Mayfield told ESPN. “I remember hearing the rumors and stuff going back and forth. Then I got a text from Freddie and he said, ‘We just got a little bit better.'”
He joked that it was a classic Kitchens’ understatement to say the Browns were just getting a “little” better by adding Beckham — a three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who has averaged 92.8 yards per game in his career and has big-play potential every snap.
“Me being me, not holding anything back, got up and was overcome with emotion because I know him,” Mayfield said. “Everybody can have their perceptions, but who he is in the locker room and the bar and standard he sets goes much further than anything he does on the field for us.”
Mayfield had already showed the makings of a star during his stellar rookie season. The former No. 1 overall pick took over the starting role in Week 3, throwing for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns. The Browns finished 7-8-1 and Mayfield set the record for touchdown passes by a rookie, which was previously held by Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson. Mayfield was also outstanding down the stretch as the Browns reeled off a five wins in their final seven games. Mayfield ranked third in touchdown passes (17), fourth in passer rating (108.4) and first in yards per attempt (8.86) among those with 200-plus passes.
Now with Beckham in his arsenal of pass-catchers — which also includes Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway, and tight end David Njoku — the sky is the limit for Mayfield as he looks to lead the Browns back to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Odell Beckham ‘Giddy’ to Get to Work with Baker Mayfield
The excitement is mutual between Mayfield and Beckham, which the wide receiver expressed at Browns minicamp last month.
“Words don’t even really do it justice for me,’’ said Beckham. “I’m almost giddy, I feel like a little kid with the excitement that I have, seeing Baker, seeing these guys. You know we talk a lot about this offense but this defense is something special and this team is really coming together.’’
Arm strength and swagger were the two things OBJ pointed to as characteristics that make Mayfield different.
“I think it’s the confidence he carries himself with,” Beckham said of why he enjoys having Baker as his QB. “You can’t coach that. You have to love that about him.
“I’ve watched Baker since Oklahoma … he’s got an arm,” Beckham added. “I have to get adjusted to the speed. He’s throwing that ball hard. Just catching them from him the first day it was completely different.”
Follow the Heavy Cleveland Browns page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!