Former Steeler Defends Browns QB Baker Mayfield

Getty Images Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns is brought down by the Steelers defense.

Baker Mayfield got backing from an unlikely source when former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor came to the Cleveland Browns quarterback’s defense while on the Pat McAfee Show.

Taylor was posed with the question of whether or not he thought Mayfield would be the quarterback in Cleveland in three years.

“Hell yeah,” Taylor said. “Baker has had three offensive coordinators in four years. We saw what he did last year, now you give him a running game and he does have the best offensive line, in my mind. He does have a bunch of first-round picks on that defense, OBJ is coming back and they are deepest at the tight end position. And you got a coach who can actually coach now that you respect and like — you can tell by how they play as a team. I like Baker Mayfield.”

That’s some strong backing from Taylor, who played his entire career with the Browns’ AFC North rival, winning a pair of Super Bowls with the Steelers. He started 140 games, nabbing 14 interceptions, eventually calling it quits in 2014.

Baker Mayfield Working Towards Extension With Browns

Mayfield’s future in Cleveland has been a topic of conversation this offseason, with the Browns picking up his fifth-year option, keeping him with the team through the 2022 season. Naturally, the talk of a long-term extension has been brought up, although there have not been any substantial talks — yet. When it comes to his contract talks, Mayfield is taking it one day at a time.

“I have bet on myself my whole life. I have always taken it one day at a time and one play at a time. Like I said, I am not going to handle it any differently now,” he told reporters during minicamp, where he was asked repeatedly about the extension. “I think the chips will fall where they are supposed to. I am concerned about winning, and that is what everybody in this building needs to be concerned about.”

Mayfield’s agent, Jack Mills, recently said they would not like to drag things out when it comes to the extension, although the contract situations with Bills QB Josh Allen and Ravens QB Josh Allen could have a significant effect on what kind of money Mayfield gets.

“We’re not going to be dragging it out,” Mills told Tony Grossi of “I think there’s been enough contracts done for quarterbacks lately that give us a pretty good idea of what the market is. And, of course, we know that the [salary] cap isn’t going up this year but it’s going up next year and next. We pretty much know what’s coming on down the road and what’s been done. We don’t have any particular reluctance about doing a deal.”

Baker Mayfield’s Future a Divisive Topic

While Mayfield has won over much of the Browns fanbase, his play is still a divisive topic when analysts debate. ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum — a former general manager in the NFL — has come out as one of Mayfield’s most prominent doubters.

“I would not sign him to an extension. I would wait several years. Here’s why — you are binding yourself to mediocrity,” Tannenbaum said on ESPN’s Get Up“There’s a lot of ways to evaluate the AFC quarterbacks, but at best, he’s the sixth, maybe seventh-best quarterback in the AFC. In my evaluation, he’s the third-best quarterback in his own division and I like Baker Mayfield.

“If you are the Cleveland Browns, because of Baker Mayfield’s physical limitations of being short and slow, you can’t win a championship, especially if you have the seventh-best quarterback in the AFC.”

Mayfield took a big leap in Year 3 with Kevin Stefanski running the show in Cleveland. He surged down the stretch, helping lead Cleveland to a playoff berth and first-round win against the Steelers, passing for 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns, and — more importantly — a career-low eight interceptions.

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