Mayfield took issue with a report from Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com that his relationship with head coach Kevin Stefanski was strained and that he’d consider a trade demand if the offense did not shift more to his strengths.
“Clickbait. You and many other Cleveland local media continue to be drama stirring reporters with no sources or facts,” Mayfield tweeted on Thursday. “Don’t put words in my mouth so you can put food on your table. I’m not your puppet.”
Former Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden — who was a first-round pick of the team in 2012 — chimed in on the report, backing Mayfield.
“Same stuff different year with her,” Weeden wrote, referring to Cabot. “She can’t help herself.”
Deshone Kizer, another former Browns quarterback, also backed Mayfield, responding to Weeden’s tweet with a simple, “preach.”
Browns Gush Over Mayfield’s Toughness
While the team has been dealing with external drama, internally the Browns have been gushing over Mayfield’s toughness and ability to stay on the field this year despite multiple injuries, the most notable of those being the torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.
“I did have a front-row seat to one of the gutsiest, toughest performances of a quarterback playing in a season that I have ever seen, culminating in the other night and how he battled his tail off to really bring us back into that game and keep us in it,” backup quarterback Case Keenum said on Wednesday, January 5. “There were some weeks just to get him to the field was a small miracle.”
Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt also commended Mayfield for being able to battle through the pain to get on the field.
“The guy was definitely in pain a lot of the time,” Van Pelt said. “I have been around some tough guys, but he is up at the top of the list with the stuff he endured and went through this year. I appreciate his efforts. I know he wanted to be there for his teammates, but at some point, you have to make the decision that in this situation his health is most concerning to keep him healthy and get him right for the offseason for next year.”
With nothing on the line, Mayfield has opted out of the Browns finale against the Bengals. He is set to have surgery later this month in Los Angeles and is expected to be ready for all team activities this offseason.
Rough Season Created Questions About Mayfield’s Future
When the Browns were eliminated from the playoffs last season, it was hard to imagine a reality where Mayfield did not get an offer to be the team’s quarterback of the future. But the disappointing injury-riddled year has brought up some obvious questions about if the former top pick is the man for the job going forward.
“I will wait to talk about reflecting on this season. There will be time for that,” Stefanski said on Tuesday, January 4. “Ultimately, I am frustrated for Baker, not to be able to finish the season and those type of things, but anything past that, I will wait to discuss.”
Mayfield finished towards the bottom of the NFL in most major passing categories. He’s 27th with an 83.1 QB rating, completing just 60.5 percent of his attempts for 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Mayfield also failed to come through in clutch situations, going 0-5 this season on potential game-winning drives.