The idea of Baker Mayfield playing for the Browns in 2022 should Deshaun Watson be suspended for a full year is a fairy tale — and not a good one
Some stories, just like Goonies, never say die. And the idea that Baker Mayfield will come back and play for the Cleveland Browns in 2022 is the most resilient storyline we have witnessed since Mikey Walsh refused to give up on the search for One-Eyed Willy’s treasure.
There’s a growing sense that Deshaun Watson will be suspended for the entire year and that continues to lead to people asking the same question — is there a scenario where No. 6 returns?
On Sunday, it was asked — again — by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. And while he said it could be too late to mend fences, Florio asked if the idea of offering more money while guaranteeing no use of the tag in 2023 could help.
The correct answer to this is no.
Florio is receiving a lot of kickback from Browns fans for this take, which really isn’t terrible — on the surface. Mayfield is still a potential starter in the NFL and while Jacoby Brissett is there, Mayfield was the No. 1 pick in 2018 for a reason.
So why won’t Baker Mayfield come back?
The problem with this theory is that it would go against everything that makes Mayfield who he is. The two-time walk-on went on to become a Heisman Trophy winner and right, wrong or indifferent, he uses outside doubt as motivation. He also thrives on proving those who gave up on him wrong.
For that reason alone, he won’t suit up again for the orange and brown — even with a higher payday. Instead, he would rather take a chance that he can make more money in 2023 by joining a team this year that wants him and showing what he can do.
As for the Browns, they surely don’t want him back either.
There’s no denying that Mayfield lost the locker room in 2021 and he and head coach Kevin Stefanski never seemed to see eye-to-eye.
They were intent on finding a new starter in 2022 and if it wasn’t Watson, they might have looked to the NFL Draft.
In the end, this could be best for both parties. While the Browns were fool-hearted to chase a quarterback not knowing what his availability would be this season, they wouldn’t have done so if they believed they could get where they wanted to with Mayfield.
That’s why they wouldn’t go out of their way to ask him back, and anyone who knows how he operates should know it wouldn’t work anyway.