The Cleveland Browns quarterback room should be filled with three occupants in 2022, which may include a new face or two.
Baker Mayfield is the first-string quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, but if he is not available, the Browns need at least one — and possibly two — highly reliable backups. The new reality features a 17-game season coupled with the twin realities that Covid is going to be with us for a while and not every player is going to be vaccinated.
One of the consequences is that NFL teams need three quarterbacks on the 53-player active roster (which, by the way, needs to be expanded). Truthfully, this fan is not convinced that the quarterback room is broken at all. The Browns should have been okay with Case Keenum and Nick Mullens manning the second-string and third-string positions, respectively, but for whatever reason the coaching staff did not make the move to Keenum even when it was obvious that Mayfield was not able to throw accurately while injured in 2021.
Hopefully, the Browns will learn from their mistakes and go with three quarterbacks on the 53-player roster in 2022. There are some fans who are hoping for an outright replacement for Mayfield in 2022. That’s fine. Any player with a jersey number should be given a chance to make the team and start, like Russell Wilson did, or Kurt Warner.
However, in all likelihood Mayfield is not going anywhere, and the Browns are paying him $18.9 million for a reason. So it’s hard to get too excited about the prospects for moving him.
Evidently, the Browns didn’t feel that they had a quarterback who could play at a higher level than an injured Mayfield, who was near the bottom of the NFL in 2021. Why not? Keenum was 2-0 as a starter. Nick Mullens was also a decent game manager, although everyone has to understand that the Browns are not paying him Aaron Rodgers dollars either. The expectations are lower for the third string quarterback. Nevertheless, the Browns are going to look at the available options.
Let’s start by asking what it takes to run Kevin Stefanski’s offense. He needs someone who can play cold weather football, play the short passing game, run play action and the run-pass option (RPO). If he has an elephant gun arm and can throw bombs all over the field, that’s great but not totally necessary. Cleveland is basically looking for a player who can throw accurately to a tight end in a Lake Effect snowstorm.
Let’s start by discussing free agent quarterbacks who are better than Case Keenum, while understanding that there is a high chance that they wind up with first string jobs somewhere else.