It’s been a rough month for Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield threw six interceptions over his final two starts of the year against the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers, drawing ire from a segment of Browns’ fans and questions from analysts as to whether he could cut it as a starting QB in the NFL. After Cleveland was eliminated from playoff contention, Mayfield stood on the sidelines and watched the team’s final regular season game — a home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Then, on Wednesday, January 19, Mayfield underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, one of several injuries that plagued the quarterback through much of the season and impacted his on-field production.
The latest Browns news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Browns newsletter here!
Later on Wednesday, to add insult to literal injury, Mayfield had to wake up and hear former New York Jets general manager turned ESPN NFL analyst Mike Tannenbaum rip him and his play to shreds on the in a videotaped interview with Ari Meirov, of Pro Football Focus (PFF) and My Sports Update.
“He’s clearly the third best quarterback in that division, and his height and speed deficiencies continue to show up. He’s behind Joe Burrow, he’s behind Lamar Jackson, he may even be behind Tyler Huntley. That’s a story for another day,” Tannenbaum said. “If I’m them, I’d try to go get a Jameis Winston or Jimmy Garoppolo, and maybe draft [another QB]. But Baker Mayfield is not good enough for them.”
What is Mayfield’s Trade Value?
Meirov noted that Browns general manager Andrew Berry recently said Mayfield was the team’s quarterback and that they planned to keep him moving forward.
Both Meirov and Tannenbaum questioned the truth behind that statement, as the Browns have yet to extend Mayfield beyond 2022, which is the fifth and final year of his rookie deal. He is scheduled to make $18.8 million.
That led into a conversation about what Mayfield’s trade value would be this offseason, as Cleveland has to consider the possibility it will get nothing in return for the quarterback should he decide to walk after next season.
“There’s so many teams that need a quarterback, be it Denver, Carolina, New Orleans. There’s about a dozen teams that really could use a starting quarterback, that’s not even considering teams like Houston or a team like Tampa that needs a quarterback for the future,” Tannenbaum continued. “There’s a ton of teams that need quarterbacks, so I do think you could maybe get a second or third-round pick for Baker.”
Mayfield Underwent Successful Surgery Wednesday
If the Browns want to move on from Mayfield, this offseason is probably the optimal time. The quarterback suffered injuries this season, but is expected to make a full recovery.
He took to Twitter Wednesday to share news of the successful surgery to his non-throwing shoulder.
“I checked that box off to get this fixed, and now it’s on the way to the road to recovery,” Mayfield said. “This is one of those steps to get back to my true self. This past year hasn’t been very easy.”
“This is not the end of my story,” he continued. “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.”
Jake Trotter, of ESPN, reported Wednesday that Mayfield should make a full recovery within 4-6 months and ought to be ready to go by training camp, if not considerably sooner.
The Browns would have several potential options to chase during the coming offseason, as rumors continue to swirl that Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan, Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins and possibly even Packers QB Aaron Rodgers could be available via free agency or the trade market.