Has Baker Mayfield played his last game with the Browns? Possible landing spots, QB options for Cleveland

The Baker Mayfield season has come to an end.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said during his press conference Tuesday that the quarterback would undergo surgery on his left shoulder to repair the labrum tear that has plagued him all season. Mayfield will miss Sunday’s game against AFC North champion Bengals, the third game he has missed this season.

The announcement officially ends what has been a disappointing campaign for the fourth-year quarterback. The Browns missed the playoffs after starting the season with high expectations. Mayfield, who appeared to take a big step forward in 2020, fell back again in 2021, perhaps due to injury. He had a 60.5 completion percentage, 17 touchdown passes, 13 interceptions and 3,010 passing yards. In his last two games, losses to the Packers and Steelers, he threw four touchdown passes to six interceptions and a 50 percent completion percentage.

The Browns’ roster remains among the most loaded in the league, and they should remain a threat in the AFC North in 2022. But Mayfield’s latest struggles have led Cleveland to speculate on whether the first overall draft pick of the the 2018 NFL is the presence under center the team needs to be competitive.

Will Baker Mayfield be cut?

While Mayfield won’t be playing Cincinnati on Sunday, don’t expect to see him in free agency any time soon.

Cleveland exercised his fifth-year option in April, which means that, for now at least, he will remain under contract with the Browns when the offseason begins. His deal is for $ 18.9 million.

Although he struggled during the 2021 campaign, some of that can be attributed to the injury to his non-throwing shoulder. He’s also coming off a promising season in which he threw 26 touchdowns, eight interceptions, 3,563 passing yards and a 62.8 percent completion percentage to lead the Browns to the playoffs and an 11-5 record.

Baker Mayfield landing sites

Just because Mayfield hasn’t been eliminated yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The Browns could make the decision to part ways with the quarterback this offseason and begin looking for options to find another starter under center.

However, it is also possible for him to be traded in, perhaps as part of a package for another quarterback. Last offseason, the Rams and Lions struck a trade in which Los Angeles, hoping to improve as a quarterback on their talented roster, sent a younger quarterback (Jared Goff) and a group of selections to Detroit in exchange for the most successful Matthew Stafford. .

Could the Browns look at something similar?

If Mayfield is going to be on the move, here are a few places it could end up.

Seahawks

A trade from Wilson to Mayfield would give Cleveland an experienced quarterback who has not only continued to play at an MVP level, but also has experience leading teams to the Super Bowl. The big hurdle in a possible move would be whether Wilson wants to go to Northeast Ohio. According to Jordan SchultzOnly the Saints, Giants and Broncos would tempt Wilson to waive his no-trade clause.

Perhaps, however, the weapons available in Cleveland and a winnable division would lead him to reconsider the Browns as a destination should the teams come close to a deal.

Broncos

Denver has been looking for a top quarterback for a while, including Wilson and Aaron Rodgers. But if the Broncos can’t get one of those two, maybe they’ll take a chance on Mayfield.

Teddy Bridgewater is a free agent after this season and Drew Lock continues to fight center. Mayfield may not be the big buzz the team is looking for, but the change of scenery and improved offensive line could allow him to take a step forward in his game.

Jeans

It would be something of a homecoming for Mayfield, who was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and began his college career at Texas Tech before going to Oklahoma. Like the Seahawks, this would likely hinge on a trade from Watson for Mayfield, with Houston pitting him against former third-round pick Davis Mills for the spot.

Albert Breer from MMQB He believes Cleveland will be in Watson’s draw that will likely come this offseason, depending on the outcome of the more than 20 lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault and the NFL investigation into the matter.

Browns QB 2022 Options

Moving Mayfield is one thing, but finding another starting quarterback is another. The NFL Draft 2022 class for quarterbacks is not as deep as in years past, and it seems unlikely that a team ready for Super Bowl contention will bet on a rookie quarterback when it already has a caller who has. led to the playoffs and won one game.

There are a few quarterbacks, including Wilson and Watson, who might make sense as trade candidates for the Browns. We already discussed the two QBs mentioned above as options, so they will not be included below.

Aaron Rodgers

This is obviously the dream scenario for Browns fans. Acquire a future Hall of Famer, perennial MVP nominee and Super Bowl-winning quarterback? Yes please.

Rodgers has been rumored to be a potential trade candidate since the start of last offseason, and this next offseason could be when he’s on the move again. At 38, he would probably want to go to an immediate contender, and the Browns would certainly qualify.

Derek Carr

The Raiders have had a tumultuous season to say the least, but they could still find themselves in the playoffs. However, this upcoming offseason could turn the tables on the organization, starting with tackling an uncertain future as a quarterback.

While Carr could get an extension, it’s also possible the Raiders will trade him and restart the organization with a younger quarterback. The 30-year-old quarterback continues to be a productive starter in the NFL, having passed for more than 20 touchdowns in all but one career season and having posted a completion percentage above 67 percent in every season since 2018.

Kirk’s Cousins

Before he was the head coach at Cleveland, Stefanski was the Vikings’ offensive coordinator in 2019. That team made the playoffs, ranked eighth in the NFL in scoring, and Cousins ​​posted the highest quarterback rating. of his career with 107.4.

The Vikings haven’t made the playoffs since and it seems likely that they will pass coach Mike Zimmer in the offseason. Cousins ​​will be 34 at the start of next season and doesn’t look like the face of the franchise going forward. He could be the answer for the Browns though, as he has continued to be successful in the air. He has 65 touchdown passes in his last two seasons and this year he has thrown just seven interceptions. Assuming he plays Sunday, he will also pass more than 4,000 yards for the second time in as many years.