1. Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Carolina Panthers
There was no bigger drama last season that the quarterback carousel going on in Berea. With Baker Mayfield coming off an injury-plagued and frustrating 2021 campaign, Cleveland had originally stated they were sticking with him as their starter.
Then, reports started to change, saying they told his camp that they would only look to make a move if an elite quarterback became available. That’s what happened as Deshaun Watson learned he would not be criminally charged for accusations of sexual misconduct.
Still, he was facing a major suspension from the NFL, but this didn’t stop the Browns — and roughly 12 other teams — from chasing after him. In the end, Watson chose Cleveland and that led to Mayfield being on the outside, looking in.
Frustrations grew among the fanbase as there were those who were angry the franchise went after someone with a checkered past as well as those who still believed Mayfield was the answer.
After months of waiting, they finally were able to unload Mayfield as the Carolina Panthers gave him a new home. The former No. 1 overall pick did win the starting job over Sam Darnold and nearly beat Cleveland in Week 1 — and would have if not for a Cade York field goal from 58 yards out.
That 235-yard performance from Mayfield was the best of his season and he was eventually benched for P.J. Walker. He later asked for his release, which was granted. He rebounded with a huge win in his debut with the Los Angeles Rams but still wasn’t great in 2022.
He was 1-5 as the starter for the Panthers and 1-3 for the Rams. In all, he had just 2,163 yards passing with 10 touchdowns and eight picks. And those numbers were padded by a decent finish with Sean McVay calling plays for him.
It was a far cry from the player we saw feeling dangerous in Cleveland.