The Browns have a new franchise quarterback, as Cleveland has selected Oklahoma signal-caller Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
At various points in the pre-draft process, the Browns had reportedly been eyeing other quarterbacks, such as USC’s Sam Darnold and Wyoming’s Josh Allen. Instead, they’ve gone with a former Heisman Trophy winner in Mayfield in an effort to solidify their quarterback position for years to come.
Cleveland, of course, has been trying and failing to land a long-term passer for some time, and notably passed on prospects such as Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson in recent drafts. With a new general manager in place, and the first and fourth overall picks at their disposal, the Browns always seemed likely to use a top selection on a quarterback.
Mayfield, a former walk-on at both Texas Tech and Oklahoma, is a favorite of many in the analytic community, and posted at 3,700 yards and 35 touchdowns in each of his three campaigns for the Sooners. An excellent passer from the pocket, Mayfield stands at just over six feet tall.
The Browns acquired Tyrod Taylor from the Bills earlier this offseason, and also signed veteran backup Drew Stanton, so Mayfield isn’t expected to begin the 2018 season as the club’s starter. Cleveland has pledged to bring its next quarterback along slowly, but Mayfield could conceivably see the field as the year progresses.
As the first overall pick, Mayfield will sign a four-year, fully guaranteed contract that comes with a fifth-year option for the 2022 seasons. Mayfield’s deal should be worth nearly $33MM, per Over the Cap, including a $22MM signing bonus and a 2018 cap charge of roughly $5.9MM.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.