Baker Mayfield is far from healthy and former Pro Bowl quarterback Michael Vick thinks the Cleveland Browns should send him to the bench to see if veteran Case Keenum can give the 3-3 squad a spark.
“I think Baker Mayfield is trying to pull an iron man. I don’t know how long Baker’s been hurt but it seems that he’s out there trying to play hurt,” Vick said. “The best thing for him right now is to allow Case Keenum to go in and try to give this team a spark.”
Mayfield was already playing with a partially torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, wearing a harness during games. He hurt himself further in the second half against the Cardinals, going down awkward on a fumble with JJ Watt chasing him down. He exited the game briefly but didn’t miss a series until the game was out of reach.
“It feels like s***,” Mayfield said of his shoulder after the game. “It dislocated again and slipped out again on a non-contact play. Just have to figure out a way to get better.”
Kevin Stefanski Casts Doubt on Mayfield’s Status
Despite standing at the podium in a sling on Sunday, Mayfield said he would “absolutely” play on Thursday night against the Broncos. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski seemed to pump the brakes on that idea just a bit on Monday.
“We will make sure to work through all of that in the next couple of days and obviously take what the medical staff says and what Baker in this case says,” Stefanski told reporters. “We do that for all of our players, making sure we make prudent decisions with all of these guys.”
What Stefanski was not able to touch on was whether or not Keenum would get some reps with the first team in practice.
“I can’t give you any more information just because it is so early in the day and early in the week. I will have a better sense tomorrow with a lot of these guys so I really do not know is the truth,” Stefanski said. “I have to see how Baker and all of these guys respond in the next 24 hours.”
Mayfield is seeking a second opinion on his shoulder, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. That likely means he wasn’t a fan of what he heard from the team physicians about his prospects of starting on Thursday.
The Browns are also awaiting more information and decisions on the health of other key players like Odell Beckham Jr., Jedrick Wills, Jack Conklin and Nick Chubb. Running back Kareem Hunt (calf) and rookie linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (ankle) have already been ruled out and will likely miss multiple weeks.
Keenum Would Have to Knock Rust Off
Keenum hasn’t played a meaningful NFL snap in over a year, attempting just 13 passes since signing with the Browns in 2020. That being said, the Browns gave Keenum a three-year, $18 million contract with $10 million guaranteed for a reason, knowing he would be one of the most reliable backups in the league if anything arose with Mayfield.
“First and foremost, I know my role coming in,” Keenum said shortly after signing, dispelling any quarterback controversy. “That’s another great positive for me. I’m going to be ready to play. I feel like I’ve played at a high level for the last three years.”
Keenum started most recently for Washington, starting eight games. Keenum went 1-7 in his starts, passing for 1,707 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Keenum started 30 games over his previous two seasons before landing in Washington with the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings. In 2017, he went 11-3 with Minnesota, helping lead the team to the NFC championship game.