The Cleveland Browns need to address their future at quarterback but can do so without calling their name during the NFL Draft.
After an up and down 2021 season that was marred with injuries and poor play, paired with inconsistencies throughout his first four years as a whole, the Browns need to find better play from their quarterback. If that means moving on from the former No. 1 overall pick, then now may be the best time to do so.
Many fans have called for the Browns to allow Mayfield one more season, to allow him to heal from the torn labrum that allegedly held him back in 2021, and then move on if there’s no improvement. The flaw in that argument, however, is that 2021 was not the only year of poor play from Baker, who has really only put together a stretch of eight consecutive games with quality play through four years in the league.
Another fallacy in the argument to stick with Mayfield for one more year is that other teams in the division and the AFC as a whole aren’t going to stick idly by while the Browns try to figure out their situation. The rest of the division is only going to get better, as Joe Burrow and the Bengals will look to build off their Super Bowl appearance, and the Ravens will without a doubt bounce back to form.
The Browns can ill-afford to just stick with a plan that has largely failed to work to this point, and hope something clicks, because if it continues to fail, they’ll be even further behind the rest of the teams they are trying to compete with.
So, what are the Cleveland Browns to do?
The 2022 quarterback draft class doesn’t have any big names that are sure-fire studs, and the free-agent market doesn’t appear to have any names that can turn a franchise around. The best avenue for the team to attack is to trade for a quarterback.
While names like Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins could very well be on the block, the cap restructuring required to get guys of that caliber would be hard to navigate, especially with so many young players currently on the Browns that will need to be extended in the next few seasons. It also appears that Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have repaired their fractured relationship, and he may remain with the team on a new deal.
With that news, the best young name on the trade market, and honestly in the 2022 draft class, is quarterback Jordan Love. If Rodgers is set to return to the Packers, they may be willing to package a deal to send the young quarterback, who will be entering his third season, to the Cleveland Browns.
The reason he fits into the category of being the best quarterback in the 2022 draft class is that acquiring him will most likely cost at least one draft pick in this year’s draft. Pairing that with Baker Mayfield will likely be enough to acquire the young quarterback who likely wants a fresh start elsewhere, especially following the drama surrounding the Packers’ selection of him in the 2020 draft.
Love’s biggest strengths are his cannon for an arm and mobility, which are both important in a Stefanski-style offense built on play-action and roll-out passes. While he did take a step back his final year in college, the tape still shows that he has what it takes to be a more-than-capable starting quarterback in the NFL.
Love him or hate him (pun intended), Jordan Love is a new face and brings new life and potential to a Browns offense that lacks it from the man currently under center. Both Mayfield and Love could do with a change of scenery, and Love could provide a real spark to a team that desperately needs it.
Getting a young, gifted player like Jordan Love could be exactly what general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski need to get consistency from their team.
Pairing him with a talented rookie wide receiver is even better, as the two can build a bond and let the chemistry grow as they both play on a rookie contract, allowing the money saved to be spent on extending talented players elsewhere on the roster.