Is This the Beginning of the End for Baker Mayfield in Cleveland?
Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns control their playoff destiny on Sunday when they meet the Pittsburgh Steelers in their regular season finale. Win and they make their first postseason in nearly two decades, but if they lose (and don't get help from the Colts) they will miss the playoffs. If that scenario plays out, is Mayfield done in Cleveland? Bart Scott and Rob Ninkovich both said as much on Get Up this morning.
Host Ryan Smith was flabbergasted to hear this and I think I agree. Mayfield is entering the fourth year of his rookie deal. If the Browns decline his fifth year option, he's probably done in Cleveland, but that seems unlikely. It's not that Mayfield has proved himself as anything more than a reliable national pitchman, but it's hard to imagine there being a better option immediately available to quarterback a team that is otherwise constructed to win now.
The Browns will not have a high draft pick to grab a franchise quarterback for the future. Dak Prescott is the only quarterback upgrade available in free agency and his stock is in question as Andy Dalton continues to push the Cowboys towards the playoffs in Dallas. A year of Philip Rivers seems far fetched. Are the Browns going to try and bring in Jacoby Brissett or Mitch Trubisky on a longer deal?
Despite Baker Mayfield's issues, he has institutional familiarity in Cleveland which football guys cannot put a price on. He's 12th in touchdown passes this season and 18 quarterbacks have thrown more interceptions. Yeah, it would be nice to have a better quarterback, but where are the Browns going to get one? It seems far more likely they lock down Mayfield for his fifth season and perhaps longer.