Baker Mayfield isn’t on his way out of Cleveland — yet. Although the Browns quarterback appears to know his days are numbered with the organization as he posted what seems to be a farewell letter on social media late Tuesday night in the midst of free agency.
Mayfield’s fate in Cleveland has been uncertain since the end of last season, even though the Browns exercised his fifth-year rookie option of $18,858,000 last year. The Browns appeared to be giving Mayfield an opportunity at a bounce-back year before giving him a massive contract, yet that doesn’t seem to be in the cards with the team reportedly interested in Deshaun Watson.
Regardless if the Browns are able to land Watson or not, Mayfield may have forced his hand with the Browns with this farewell message. If the Browns aren’t committed to Mayfield, the quarterback is looking to find his next destination sooner rather than later.
Mayfield took a step back with the Browns this season as he battled a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder throughout the year. He ended up missing one game with the injury and another game with a knee strain. Mayfield had surgery on the torn labrum in January, ending his season once the Browns were officially eliminated from the playoffs.
He completed 60.5% of his passes for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions (83.1 passer rating) last season. Of 32 qualified quarterbacks, Mayfield finished 27th in completion percentage, 22nd in touchdown passes, 17th in yards per attempt (7.2), and 27th in quarterback rating.
Just one of three quarterbacks to throw for 3,500 yards and 20 touchdowns in each of his first three seasons (Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck), Mayfield took a significant step back on play-action passing this past season. In 2020, Mayfield completed 63% of his passes with 26 touchdowns to eight interceptions (95.8 rating) — but those numbers dipped to 61% with 17 touchdowns to 13 interceptions in 2021 (83.1 rating).
Head coaching inconsistencies have also plagued Mayfield, as he’s the fourth quarterback since 1950 to play under three different head coaches (excluding interim head coaches) in first three career NFL seasons (minimum 20 starts). Mayfield has a 23-22 record, while Brandon Weeden (5-16), Blaine Gabbert (5-22), and Dennis Shaw (8-27-2) all have losing records in similar situations.
Mayfield’s future in Cleveland appears all but over. With teams needing starting quarterbacks in 2022, Mayfield will be one of the top signal callers available in the coming days.