Why the Cleveland Browns QB situation is best in the AFC North
6. So what is a franchise quarterback, anyway?
There’s a portion of the Browns fan base that likes to make itself miserable convincing itself that Baker Mayfield is not a “Franchise quarterback.” Baker has not proven this. He has not done that. He has to establish this. If you don’t agree it’s because you’re not an expert and I am. Well, I’m calling bullfeathers.
There’s no such thing as a franchise quarterback. It’s just a stupid term that we as sportswriters made up to throw you off. The sportscaster can act like there is some special insight that is required to know whether the player is a “franchise quarterback” or not.
Baker Mayfield is the first-string quarterback of the Cleveland Browns. Does that mean he is a “franchise quarterback” or not? Who cares? Andrew Berry and the Haslams still need to figure out how to pay him.
If you want to say that Mayfield, Jackson, and Burrow have not won the Super Bowl yet, that’s fair, but it doesn’t take a genius to make that observation. But just because they have not won yet doesn’t mean that they can never win.
If you recall the Super Bowl commentary last February, the sportscasters were discussing how long it would take Patrick Mahomes to break Tom Brady’s Super Bowl record, basically assuming the Chiefs will make it just about every year for the next 10 years and every other team is wasting its time. Well, ask Aaron Rodgers how easy it is to win two Super Bowls.
It’s so not hopeless for young quarterbacks to win the Super Bowl. The Chiefs were pathetically lucky to have gotten past the Browns in the playoffs in January.
Was Nick Foles a franchise quarterback? If not, who cares? He got his team to the Super Bowl and beat Brady and the Patriots.
What about Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson? Not franchise quarterbacks, supposedly, but there they are with super bowl rings. Washed-up Earl Morrall, the career backup, lost in humiliating fashion to Joe Namath and the Jets. Not a franchise quarterback. But he has three Super Bowl rings earned after that loss. So who cares about whether someone is a franchise quarterback or not?
On the other hand, what about Dan Marino? He was one of the top passers of his generation, but never won it all.
The point is, if this “franchise quarterback” thing is getting you worked up to think that Baker Mayfield is not good enough to quarterback the Browns (or, for that matter, that Jackson or Burrow are not good enough for their team), then it is not a useful concept. It’s just confusing the fans. Baker Mayfield is the first-string quarterback of the Cleveland Browns and he has as good a chance as anyone to win it all.
By the time the season starts, I am not sure whether Roethlisberger, Jackson, or Mayfield will be the highest-paid quarterback in the division. However, they all belong at the top of the depth chart of their respective teams. Period. Burrow is only in his second year, so his contract extension will wait two more years.
No team in the AFC North has a quarterback controversy. Same old Browns? No. Same old Bengals? No, not on offense, anyway. We’ll see whether Pittsburgh and Baltimore remain at the top of the Division in 2021, but this could be the toughest division in football in 2021.
The Browns’ situation is actually a little bit more stable, not less stable, than the situation of the other teams in the division, at least in one fan’s opinion. Feel free to disagree. Comments below.