There’s been much speculation this offseason about what the Cleveland Browns will decide to do with quarterback Baker Mayfield but general manager Andrew Berry didn’t shy away from backing the former No. 1 overall pick at the NFL Combine.
Berry took questions from reporters in Indianapolis and showed some support for Mayfield, shutting down some of the rampant trade speculation.
“I don’t know that I necessarily buy that,” Berry told reporters. “I think that ends up being a lot of speculation. I mean, quarterbacks rarely move.”
“I don’t know that I necessarily buy that,” Berry said. “I think that ends up being a lot of speculation. I mean, quarterbacks rarely move.
“The reality of it is we’ve seen him play at a high level before. I think, being realistic, the injury does have some impact on his performance. But we’re focused on him getting healthy. We know he works. We think he’s talented.”
As for adding some competition with a new backup, Berry opted to keep it vauge.
“I don’t know that I can really speak in detail in any room at this point because we’re at March 1 and day two of the combine,” he said. “It really is about matching resources to opportunity. This is one I’m not necessarily trying to be evasive with, but that is the truth.”
Berry maintained his position that he “fully” expects Mayfield to be the starting quarterback for the Browns next season and commended him for his rehab work following shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.
“Baker’s doing well in his rehab. He’s worked his tail off since the surgery and is right on track,” Berry told reporters. “I talked to him right after and he was a bit groggy. It was the first time he’s had surgery in his entire career. He’s worked hard and we are pleased with his progress.”
Berry: Baker Mayfield Not Worried About Contract
The reality is that Mayfield has reached his final opportunity to prove to the Browns that he can be the quarterback of the future in Cleveland. He’s on the fifth and final year of his rookie deal and will need to rebound after a lackluster season to earn an extension.
However, Berry doesn’t think Mayfield is focused on the specifics of that extension, like timing and price.
“Knowing Baker, I think he’s pretty focused on the task at hand. One of the realities of professional sports is that a number of guys across the league will play with one year left on their deals. It’s not like that’s an exception for any individual player. And it can impact particular players differently.
“You don’t have a lot of time to think about that, certainly in-season. Your focus has to be on working and preparing so that ultimately you can perform on the field as well as possible. When that happens, that stuff takes care of itself.”
Mayfield uttered a similar statement during camp last season, understanding that if the Browns win, he wins.
“I am not worried about it. I want to go out and win games,” Mayfield said in April of last year. “I think everything happens for a reason so we will see what happens.”
That obviously didn’t happen. The Browns finished 8-9 and on the outside looking in of the postseason. The team was especially brutal down the stretch, failing to capitalize on big opportunities to gain ground in the playoff race.
Mayfield Eager to Prove Doubters Wrong
If there’s one thing Mayfield enjoys, it’s being viewed as an underdog — a situation he’s thrived in throughout his career. After tossing 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while battling through injury last season, it’s become clear that there is a significant amount of Browns fans who are losing belief in him.
But Mayfield appears to be embracing the challenge, evident through a message he left on social media after the procedure on his shoulder.
“This is not the end of my story,” Mayfield said. “It’s just going to be one of those little things that I’ll look back and remember that’s one of those challenges and adversity that I’m going to try to take advantage of me, and it’ll make me a better person.”
The Browns released a statement on January 19 saying Mayfield would begin light throwing in April. The team said he should be able to participate in the offseason program on a limited basis and a full recovery is expected by the start of training camp in July.