Browns top 20 QBs since 1999: Baker Mayfield, Joe Flacco among the best

38 QBs have started a game for the Cleveland Browns since 1999
Cleveland Browns, Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns, Baker Mayfield / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
6 of 6

Tier One: "Cloud Nine"

The QBs who captained some of the most exciting seasons for the Browns since their return in 1999.

4. Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson is obviously developing within this list. Right now, his play isn't bad, and compared to typical Browns' QB play, I would even consider it good.

The problem is, Cleveland's paying him to be a top-five quarterback. I'm sure that many may disagree with the decision to place Watson here instead of Flacco — but Watson beat better teams and turned the ball over less.

He's also the team's future, and Flacco was single-handedly responsible for the loss in the Wild Card round. Watson has the opportunity to rise to number one in this tier or fall to number one in tier four. I am pulling for the guy, and hope that in 2024 he will tear up the league which I know he is physically capable of doing.

As of right now, it looks as if the guaranteed money was a bad move by Andrew Berry and company, but only time will tell. As it stands, he holds an 8-4 record, with 2,217 yards passing, 14 TDs to 9 INTs, and 317 yards rushing with an additional two TDs.

3. Derek Anderson

This name may surprise some people, but one thing stands out when you compare Derek Anderson to the 37 other QBs since 1999; Pro Bowl. He's the only QB since the return in 1999 that has been selected to attend the game.

In 2007, Derek Anderson led the Cleveland Browns through a 10-6 season that saw them just miss the playoffs. After both Charlie Frye and Brady Quinn went down with injuries, Derek Anderson stepped in to guide the team from an 0-1 record. That was the highlight of his career with Cleveland has the remainder of the 2008-2009 seasons he had substandard play. He finished his time in Cleveland with a 16-18 record, 7,083 yards, 46 TDs, and 45 INTs.

2. Tim Couch

Cleveland has only made the playoffs three times since 1999, and Tim Couch led them to their first trip in 2002. Couch was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, and had high expectations. However, injuries would plague his early career which eventually led to other QBs (Kelly Holcomb to be exact) stepping into his role and ultimately playing better.

He's one of two QBs on this list who has started more than 50 games for the Browns and showed a significant amount of promise at times. Ultimately, Cleveland elected to move on from him when he failed to take the necessary steps in his progression. He was 22-37 as a starter appearing in a total of 62 games with 59 starts. He threw for 11,131 yards, 64 TDs, and 67 INTs.

1. Baker Mayfield

There really should not be much surprise to Baker Mayfield topping this list, and ultimately, the best QB the Browns have had since 1999. Like Couch, Mayfield was selected first overall and rewarded the fan base in Week 3 of the 2018 season when he led a come-from-behind win against the Jets to open the Bud Light coolers within Cleveland.

That's the year he broke the rookie touchdown record with 27. He had up and down years that made the organization and fan base question his future potential but also led them to the playoffs in 2020. That was their first appearance since 2002, and their first playoff win since 1994.

People tend to forget that Cleveland was 3-44 in the three years prior to Mayfield and that he snapped a 19-game losing streak in his first game as a Brown. His time in Cleveland ended after Cleveland acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans in 2022.

He finished 29-30 with 14,125 yards passing, 92 TDs and 56 INTs. He added another 571 yards and 5 TDs on the ground. He is 4th all time in passing yards, 5th for TDs, and No. 1 all-time for completion percentage and passer rating.

Far from a bust, Mayfield should be remembered for these accomplishments. He even made the Browns cool again due to his engaging personality and frequent commercial appearances.

More Browns Coverage