Best Option for the Browns: Baker Mayfield
People forget just how good Baker Mayfield was coming out of college. If he were in this year’s quarterback class, he would be far and away the best. So, let me quickly remind you of who Mayfield was in college then discuss what he needs to do now.
Coming out of Oklahoma, Baker had the highest quarterback accuracy rating of any college QB rated by Pro Football Focus. His accuracy was 5 percentage points higher than everyone in that draft.
He was a natural leader that his team rallied around and played for. He played well in big games on the big stage. One only need recall Mayfield planting the Oklahoma flag at Ohio State.
So, what happened? We could discuss coaching changes until we are blue in the face. But that never seems to have been an issue for Baker. Yet, his play has devolved for a reason.
Baker faced something new the past few seasons, he was not the Alpha Male in the room. While Baker was still a young player, the Browns brought in big personalities of wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. Both players had “attitude concerns” with their previous teams. Both players were critical of their quarterbacks, coaches and the organizations, often taking their issues to the press.
Baker was not ready to handle these personalities. But let’s be honest, their previous teams didn’t want to deal with it either. Did John Dorsey really believe they would change when he acquired them? If he did, he was clearly wrong.
Worse than all the coaching changes and offensive changes was Jarvis Landry’s culture changes. Landry and Beckham did in Cleveland exactly what they did to their previous teams. They played like “me first” players. When they didn’t get their way, they used the media as a means to criticize their quarterback.
Ok, maybe Beckham Jr. is more guilty of this than Jarvis. But Jarvis’ silence on the whole issue is telling. Did he really change the culture just to sit back and watch OBJ burn it to the ground? Or is it more likely he never really changed the culture to begin with?
OBJ never wanted to be in Cleveland. Praise God he is gone. I think Jarvis is making do until he can leave. Both have either proactively or reactively by remaining silent caused major issues for Baker and the Browns.
Instead of throwing another quarterback into this impossible situation, the Browns organization needs to rally around Baker. Get rid of the known clubhouse issues. Bring in real wide receivers. You know, the kind that get open and catch the ball.
Most important, set Baker up for success in the locker room and on the field. So far, by keeping the troublemaker on the roster, the Browns have yet to set Baker up for success. Do they really want to do this to different quarterback? How would a new QB fare any better than Baker?
Clean up the roster. Give Baker some weapons. Then make a decision on his future. They still have a fifth-year option and two Franchise tag years. Use them get their house in order and see if a non-dysfunctional locker room makes difference.