Browns QB Baker Mayfield‘s inconsistent play this season, combined with his disappointing sophomore campaign in 2019, has led to plenty of speculation that the former No. 1 overall pick could be benched in favor of backup Case Keenum. However, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says that’s not going to happen.
Per Cabot, Mayfield will get the final 10 games of the season to prove himself. Though she does add that he may not keep his job if he continues to throw a high number of interceptions, the Browns are still high on Mayfield and believe his performance will improve.
Mayfield obviously offers far more upside than Keenum, and Cleveland has far more invested in the third-year passer, so the decision is not an especially difficult one. Still, the fact that Mayfield has played well against poor defenses in 2020 and has struggled mightily against the better teams is cause for concern. He did play through sore ribs in last week’s blowout loss to the Steelers and had only one full day of practice leading up to the game, so perhaps there is reason for optimism moving forward.
After all, the 4-2 Browns have the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL, and after they battle the Bengals this afternoon, they will have a bye next week. At that point, Mayfield should be completely healthy and ready to lead a talented offense towards a playoff berth.
If he does play well down the stretch, Cabot says Cleveland will certainly pick up his fifth-year option, though the team’s evaluation may be made more difficult by the relatively low level of competition that Mayfield will be facing. If he does not play well, or if he continues to be hit-or-miss, new GM Andrew Berry will have a very tough call to make.
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