How Baker Mayfield will come up short for Browns yet again

Baker Mayfield, Panthers. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Baker Mayfield, Panthers. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

Baker Mayfield was once supposed to be the savior of the Cleveland Browns but continuously came up short. He will likely come up short yet again.

When the Cleveland Browns drafted Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick back in the 2018 NFL Draft, many fans thought, hoped, and prayed that he would be the guy to finally get them out of 19 years of quarterback hell. Well, fast forward four years later and that couldn’t be further from reality.

After a relationship that started off great, then turned rocky for a plethora of different reasons, the Browns decided to move on from the former Heisman Trophy winner. In a blockbuster deal, Cleveland acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans, despite all the legal issues he was facing. Watson will make his season and Browns debut on Sunday, December 4 after his 11-game suspension is fully served. How much he will fix the Browns remains to be seen.

Once Watson was acquired and the Browns signed perennial backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett, the question turned from if to when the team would rid itself of Mayfield and all of his drama baggage. That was answered in July when he was shipped to the Carolina Panthers. Cleveland ate $10.5 million of the nearly $19 million Mayfield was still owed on his fifth-year option.

The compensation was a conditional 2024 draft pick, but what round that falls in depends on how much Baker played for the Panthers. If he were to play in 70 percent of offensive snaps for Carolina, Cleveland would acquire a fourth-round pick. If he fails to reach that percentage, then it would be a fifth-round pick.

As of right now, and the quarterback carousel can change at any moment in Carolina, Mayfield will fall short of the 70 percent, yet again coming up short for the Browns. He came to the Queen City with Sam Darnold, a fellow 2018 draft class member also on his fifth-year option, and PJ Walker. Darnold will replace a benched Mayfield on Sunday when the Panthers take on the Broncos. This of course could all change, but it doesn’t look likely.

There’s certainly no love lost between Mayfield and the Browns. Earlier in the week, Baker disowned the team that drafted him. Back in Week 1, when fans were still hopeful as ever, Cleveland took down Mayfield and the Panthers on a Cade York game-winning 58-yard field goal. After that, well, you know.

A fresh start was something the “Baker Bros” thought would be best for the former No. 1 overall pick out of Oklahoma, but that has not gone as planned. Mayfield has thrown for 1,313 yards, six touchdowns, and six interceptions while completing 57.8 percent of his passes in seven six games as the starter and one where he spelled Walker, who struggled.

The difference between a fourth and fifth-round pick in the NFL Draft isn’t something major, as the draft itself is a giant crap shoot, but it could be beneficial to use in a trade down the line. Much like most of his tenure with the Browns, Mayfield will yet again come up short in helping the team that resides on the shores of Lake Erie.

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