It was November 21st 2021 after a long grueling battle between the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions. A visibly frustrated Baker Mayfield stormed off the field and did not engage in customary hand shakes after the game. A rough outing for Mayfield where he and the offense struggled, against a winless Detroit Lions team. On paper the Browns should have won easily. They did not. The final score was 13-10 where the Cleveland Browns did in fact win but it was to close for comfort.
As early as November reports were coming out that the Cleveland Browns would look to upgrade the quarterback position in the offseason. Various names had been thrown out in rumors. One name that quietly emerged was former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Fast forward to February and the Browns met with Bakers’s representatives during the NFL combine. Reports were Cleveland wanted to move forward with Baker as the starter. But if the opportunity presents itself they will look to upgrade the quarterback position.
Meeting In Houston
Moving forward to March and the meeting with Deshaun Watson caused a lot of stir for Mayfield and his camp. Before any trade was made Mayfield took to Instagram to write a goodbye letter. Before Deshaun Watson chose the Browns Mayfield said the bridge was burned and he requested a trade. To add more insult to injury a report came out that the Browns said “we want an adult in the room”. Couple that with his poor play in 2021 and multiple injuries. Mayfield felt and still feels disrespected.
No Contract Extension Offer
After a dream season for many browns fans. A lot of fans thought that the football drought would be over. The belief was that the quarterback carousel has indeed come to an end. Believing that Mayfield would take the next step in evolving as a franchise quarterback. He did not take the next steps. Mayfield wanted a new contract offer after the 2020 season. After he led the Browns to their first playoff appearance in about 20 years. Then led the Browns to its first playoff victory since 1994. After a 11-5 season where Mayfield went 27-13 touchdown to interception ratio. He wanted a new contract and when he did not receive it during the off-season. That was frustrating to him.
Detroit Lions Game
November 21st 2021 the Cleveland Browns played the Detroit Lions. During that game Baker Mayfield went 15-29, 176 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Not what is expected from a franchise quarterback seeking a contract extension. Baker later scrutinized offensive play calling and did not talk with the media after the Lions game. He felt he wasn’t used effectively, despite being injured. Baker Mayfield wanted to continue to play as if he was 100 percent healthy. Former Browns starter did not want to sit out for an extended period of time to get healthy. In the back of his mind he needed to play to secure the contract extension. Wether he was auditioning for a new team or the Browns themselves. Baker Mayfield felt he had something to prove.
Odell Beckham Jr. Release
To the media local or national OBJ was considered to be a diva, divisive, and a locker room cancer.To the guys in the Browns locker room he was the best teammate ever, players loved him dearly. In their eyes he was selfless and always willing to befriend everyone on the team. The issue came when the front office had chose Mayfield over Beckham Jr. The issue came when a video surfaced of Mayfield not getting OBJ the ball while being wide open. It created a massive uproar. Certain Browns defensive players stopped believing in the offense, more so stopped believing in Baker Mayfield as the starter. Teammates were disappointed and did not want to see OBJ leave. Some players wished the front office would have consulted the team before releasing him. This move rocked Mayfield’s confidence and teammates questioned his abilities.
Regardless of what is surrounding the Cleveland Browns currently off the field. I do not believe that he will ever play for the Browns again. Too many circumstances have happened that negatively impacted Baker. From having 3 head coaches in his first 3 seasons and learning 4 new offenses in that same time frame. Mayfield may not have had the best opportunity to succeed in Cleveland. So a fresh start with a new team in a new city and new opportunities may do Mayfield some good .