The Cleveland Browns are getting recognition as a true contender heading into the season, even getting the backing of a former rival in long-time Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor.
Taylor 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. Taylor joined Bull & Fox to talk about the Browns and Baker Mayfield — who he has already backed this offseason.
“This isn’t the Cleveland of old. People can say what they want to say,” Taylor said, via Keith Britton. “This is definitely not the old Cleveland. This is something special they’ve got going on.”
Taylor also came to the defense of Mayfield, who he thinks — without a doubt — is the long-term solution in Cleveland.
“It’s the confidence. It’s the demand of the huddle. It’s what he had to go through to get to that point. He has the intangibles, ‘I don’t really give a f–k what you think about me.
“Baker had to work his way from three different coordinators, finally solidifying a good head coach and a general manager,” Taylor said. “Baker’s the piece to the puzzle for the Browns. Is he the franchise QB? Hell yeah.”
Taylor went as far to say that the Browns are one of two teams he plays with in Madden, the other being the Steelers, of course.
“I rarely play Madden, but when I do play Madden, I’m either playing with the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Cleveland Browns,” Taylor said. “And when people see me get the Cleveland Browns, they laugh at me ’til I smack ’em. It’s a lot of talent over there.”
Baker Mayfield Entering Crucial Season
Mayfield took a big leap in Year 3 with Kevin Stefanski running the show, passing for 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns, and a career-low eight interceptions. The Browns picked up Mayfield’s fifth-year option this offseason, linking him to the team for at least the next two seasons. The next step is inking the former No. 1 overall pick to a long-term extension, but he’s not sweating that just yet.
“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.”
The Browns have a win total of 10.5 games next season, per DraftKings Sportsbook.
Browns Have Voiced Commitment to Baker Mayfield
The timing of Mayfield’s contract is important when it comes to the value and the Browns getting the maximum amount of time to make sure they are spending their money wisely. That being said, the Browns have backed Mayfield and it seems like only a matter of time before a deal gets done.
“Baker, over the past year, has shown an enormous amount of growth, and I think that’s both on the field and then, quite honestly, off the field as well. So, we are excited,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said of Mayfield in March, per Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk. “He’s going into his first offseason where the coaching staff, offensive system is exactly the same not to mention that there’s been very little turnover on the offensive side of the ball, and we’re excited about him continuing to make strides under Kevin [Stefansk]’s tutelage in this offense because we think he’s a very talented player.”
The Browns training camp begins July 28, with the first regular-season game scheduled for September 12 against the Chiefs.