But Keenum is not a regular backup QB despite his journeyman-like resume, his three-year, $18 million contract evidence of that. Keenum, who previously was paired with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski in Minnesota, has 62 starts to his name and some playoff experience to boot.
The Browns will be Keenum’s fifth team in five seasons. He played most recently for the Washington Redskins, starting eight games before the reins were handed over to Dwayne Haskins. Keenum went 1-7 in his starts, passing for 1,707 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Keenum Has Had an Interesting NFL Career
Keenum started 30 games over his previous two seasons before landing in Washington with the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings. In 2017, he went 11-3 with Minnesota, helping lead the team to the NFC championship game.
“Case has been a backup in this league, he’s been a starter in this league. He understands as a backup how it’s your job to support the starter and be ready to play in a moment’s notice,” Stefanski told the Browns official site. “Bottom line is we’re adding a really smart, tough football player in that room.”
Keenum’s best year in terms of yardage was in Denver two seasons ago, passing for 3,890 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 16 starts. Keenum also spent time in Houston and with the Rams.
“I think Case is somebody that’s seen it all and been through it all in his time as an NFL quarterback,” Stefanski said. “I think the experiences he brings can be great for our team as a whole. I think he knows this system having played in it under coach (Gary) Kubiak when he broke into the league in Houston and obviously I have experience coaching him with the Vikings. I’m really excited about bringing Case the person into this group. He’s the son of a football coach, he’s a grinder, he’s a gym rat, so I think he’ll fit perfectly into the mentality we’re trying to build.”
Keenum Knows Role With Browns
Mayfield lit the NFL on fire in his first season, setting the rookie touchdown record with 27 in just 13 starts.
After garnering some MVP hype for his second NFL season, Mayfield finished the year with 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, ranking next-to-last in both passer rating (78.8) and completion percentage (59.4%) despite having both Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry at his disposal.
The team is reportedly 100 percent behind Mayfield as he looks to find his groove in his third season, but signing a capable veteran like Keenum turns up the heat just a little on the former Heisman winner.
However, Keenum made it clear that he understands what he’s in Cleveland for, and that’s to bring a veteran voice to the QB room. He expressed zero uncertainty about what his role is.
“Baker reached out as soon as the news broke, which really meant a lot to me,” Keenum said, per the Browns site. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him for what he’s done on the field and off the field, too. First and foremost, I know my role coming in. That’s another great positive for me. I’m going to be ready to play. I feel like I’ve played at a high level for the last three years.”
Keenum expanded on that a bit in a conference call Wednesday.
“He’s a good player,’’ Keenum said, per cleveland.com. “He could do just fine without me, and he has. I’m not going to say I’m going to be a coach, I’m not a coach. There’s great coaches in that room that can coach him up. You all want to be on the same page, voice.”