Tannenbaum tore into Mayfield during a segment on ESPN’s Get Up on Tuesday, calling the former top overall pick “replaceable.”
“When you look at [Cleveland head coach] Kevin Stefanski’s track record, they won in Minnesota with Case Keenum. They won with Kirk Cousins,” Tanenenbaum said. “Baker Mayfield is very much a replaceable part. He’s had one productive season out of three. That is not greatness at the quarterback position. So at best, he is the fifth-best QB in the AFC.”
Mayfield is coming off a season where helped lead Cleveland to a playoff berth and first-round win over the Steelers, passing for 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns, and — more importantly — a career-low eight interceptions. In 2019 he set the rookie touchdown record (27) in just 13 starts.
Mayfield did suffer a sophomore slump under head coach Freddie Kitchens in an offense that was dysfunctional from the get-go. He passed for 3,827 yards and 22 touchdowns, but also tossed 21 interceptions.
Tannenbaum: Browns Need to Prioritize Other Positions
As pointed out by Ben Axelrod of WKYC, the opinion of Tannenbaum jibes with a column he wrote for The33rdTeam.com, arguing against an extension for Mayfield.
“When you’re building a team, you’re constantly asking yourself: Is this player a replaceable part or not? And Mayfield may be surprisingly more replaceable than anticipated considering Stefanski’s success with other quarterbacks in Minnesota,” Tannenbaum wrote.
“Before giving Mayfield an extension, I would continue to assure that the offensive line is fortified and under contract. That needs to be a strength for the Browns to put him in an optimal position for success. I would also try to prioritize re-signing key pieces like Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb to keep the team’s core pieces together while biding time on a Mayfield extension.”
Tannenbaum has a point, with multiple other positions in need of attention. Wyatt Teller should be a name on the offensive line that the Browns try to reach a deal with and no one will argue Chubb being paid handsomely for his back-to-back big years in orange and brown.
“It would mean a lot,” Chubb said at mandatory minicamp, per the Associated Press. “Cleveland drafted me however many years ago it was and trusted me and put their faith in me to come here and help build this culture.
“I feel like Cleveland is where I want to be and hopefully, everything can work out in that direction.”
Baker Mayfield in No Rush for Extension
While Mayfield’s agent Jack Mills said he doesn’t want to “drag things out,” the Browns QB does not sound too concerned about getting a deal done. As Mayfield told reporters, he’s never been scared to bet on himself.
“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,” Mayfield said. “I am concerned about winning, and that is what everybody in this building needs to be concerned about. It is not saying that everybody is not, but the concern right now is winning and building a strong foundation for this season.”
The Browns and Mayfield get a big test out of the gate as they head to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes in Week 1.