Baker Mayfield is a better Plan B than Jacoby Brissett

Dec 29, 2019; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) throws a pass during warmups before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2019; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) throws a pass during warmups before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

Given that Deshaun Watson may miss time due to a suspension, could Baker Mayfield still be the starter for the Cleveland Browns?

In the never-ending soap opera that we call the Cleveland Browns, why is it too crazy of a proposition to demand Baker Mayfield to fulfill his contract and actually play quarterback for Cleveland?

Without discussing the tiresome specifics of the Watson case, the consensus view is that there is a substantial risk that he will have a lengthy suspension this season, and so the Browns are supposed to turn over the controls to Jacoby Brissett without a competition.

Now, I actually had my eye on him back in the 2016 draft and was thinking that the Browns might take him in the third round out of North Carolina State. He ticked most of the boxes for quarterbacks. He was a tall, strong-armed pocket passer, with big hands. He had a low interception rate in college, though he did not put up monster yardage or touchdown numbers.

But Bill Belichick drafted him for the New England Patriots two spots ahead of the Browns, who instead took Cody Kessler. Brissett had some good seasons for the Colts after being traded by New England, which was when they were a lousy team. I think he might still be a good quarterback.

However, Brissett has never quarterbacked a winning team (14-23 lifetime), and the Browns have $18.9 million invested in a quarterback who took them to the playoffs two seasons ago, and they cannot get out of his contract. Shouldn’t Brissett at least have to compete for the job, rather than be just given the job?

There is a certain amount of impatience among the fan base, which appears to advocate for the Browns to eat Mayfield’s contract and allow him to become a free agent. That of course would allow him to play for the Steelers or whomever he wishes, while the Browns would have to sign yet another quarterback as third-string while Watson does his penance.

Why not play Baker Mayfield in 2022?

Well, okay, but as long as they are paying Mayfield, and they need a top-flight quarterback, why not play him? The answer, presumably, is that his hurt feelings will not permit him to play for the team that made him second string behind the $230 million dollar man.

Really? This author is definitely old school and naive, but there should be a better rationale than that for jettisoning $18.9 million dollars.

Ideally, the Browns will trade him at some point to off-load his $18.9 million salary and make this discussion moot. But if they cannot do so, they should force him to report and play.

If he doesn’t play, they can suspend him and don’t have to pay him. Only at that point would Brissett become second on the depth chart behind Watson (i.e., first-string quarterback of the Browns while Watson is suspended), and Cleveland would need to go hire an emergency backup quarterback.

There would need to be some level of justification for the Browns to give Mayfield an $18.9 million dollar gift, grant him free agency and allow him to go play for the Steelers or whoever he wants, just so that he can seek his revenge on the Browns. That would be dumb (not that that has ever been an objection before).

Can you imagine former Browns quarterback Josh McCown in an analogous situation? You could call that guy up and tell him, “Josh, we’ve got a starting gig for you this season, but it’s only for six weeks and then we are going to cut you.” The answer would be, “Great! I’ll take it!” It wouldn’t take $18.9 million to get him to make up his mind, either.

Baker Mayfield has suffered terribly for the Cleveland Browns. So did McCown and a plethora of others. Mayfield was not treated fairly. Neither was McCown. Nevertheless, there is still an opportunity out there for Baker if his desire to play football is stronger than his ego.

The Browns ought to take the position that Baker Mayfield is still a Cleveland Brown, and that they still expect him to start if for any reason Deshaun Watson is unavailable. It could not be more obvious that they may need several starts without Watson.

Who better than Mayfield to be the second starter? The thought that he would give up his job without a whimper is nauseating. That ain’t you, Baker. At least put up a fight.

dark. Next. 3 Teams Baker Mayfield should demand a trade to

This isn’t about Deshaun Watson taking Baker Mayfield’s job, it’s actually Jacoby Brissett. Brissett is not taking Baker’s job. Baker appears simply willing to leave it in a huff. No doubt it makes him much less desirable for future prospective employers as well.