Baker Mayfield is the most exciting thing to happen in Cleveland since LeBron James. He took over as starting quarterback this season and led the Browns to a 10-6 record, including their first win in years at Pittsburgh. The Browns are hopeful that he can carry them back into relevance next year with an added weapon: Odell Beckham Jr., who was traded from New York for Jarvis Landry earlier today
The “baker mayfield height” is the question that many people are asking this offseason. The Browns have a choice to make with Baker Mayfield and it will be interesting to see what they decide.
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — In 2021, the Cleveland Browns were one of the NFL’s worst disappointments. Will they be able to recover in 2022?
This is likely to be determined by the forthcoming offseason.
The Browns still have a great squad, led by Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb, guard Joel Bitonio, and defensive end Myles Garrett, all of whom are still under contract.
However, as this past season shown, Cleveland still has a lot of roster building and overhauling to do in order to be a legitimate contender.
The following are the three most pressing questions the Browns must address this offseason:
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Mayfield had surgery in California on Wednesday to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing left shoulder. Mayfield is expected to be cleared in time for OTAs in May, or at the very least by minicamp in June, according to sources.
Whatever they say publicly, the Browns will have to figure out how much the injury impacted Mayfield’s performance this season, and if, with a healthy shoulder, he can return to being the quarterback who led the Browns to the playoffs in 2020 while also finishing in the top 10 in QBR.
They’ll have three alternatives based on that: 1. Re-sign Mayfield as the starting quarterback; 2. Sign another quarterback to compete with him; 3. trade him to another club in exchange for a starter.
The Browns may not have enough draft capital (unless they add one of their own players in a deal) to trade for Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers, who would have to waive their no-trade clauses to come to Cleveland. Following their postseason performances, Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo may not be as accessible. Deshaun Watson is the subject of 22 civil lawsuits claiming sexual assault and unlawful conduct. And Kirk Cousins will earn $35 million next season, about $17 million more than Mayfield’s fifth-year option in 2022 would pay him.
As a result, it seems like bringing Mayfield back as the starter is the most probable scenario. But whatever the Browns decide will be one of the most talked-about topics in the NFL this summer.
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If Landry and free agent Rashard Higgins (who started three games after Odell Beckham Jr. was released in the middle of the season) go elsewhere, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz, Demetric Felton, and Ja’Marcus Bradley will be Cleveland’s top four returning receivers. That’s why the Browns will almost certainly seek a receiver with the No. 13 overall choice (Mel Kiper Jr.’s first mock draft, which was released this week, has them picking Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson). Signing a proven receiver to help replace Landry would also be beneficial, but getting any receiver to play under Stefanski’s run-heavy strategy could be difficult.
The Browns must also make judgments at tight end, a position where explosive plays have been lacking. David Njoku has indicated interest in returning, but he’ll have to be re-signed first. If Cleveland wanted to, it could get out from under Austin Hooper’s deal (he has no guaranteed money remaining), but it would create a significant hole in the team’s finances.
Pass-catchers for the Browns must apply greater pressure on opposing teams than they did in 2021.
Playing opposite Myles Garrett, Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney had a fantastic season. Joe Sargent/Getty Images photo
Will the Browns’ defensive line have to be rebuilt?
Garrett is one of the league’s best overall defensive players for the Browns. However, Cleveland’s whole defensive line seems to be in upheaval following him.
Following his arrest in Florida this week on accusations of aggravated assault on a law enforcement official, resisting arrest with violence, and public exposure, defensive lineman Malik McDowell is virtually likely to be released. Cleveland’s other starting defensive tackle this season, Malik Jackson, is 32 and a free agent. Despite having a pair of intriguing possibilities in Tommy Togiai and Jordan Elliott, the Browns’ defensive tackle position has suddenly become a huge issue.
If the Browns are unable to re-sign Jadeveon Clowney, who had a fantastic season opposite Garrett, the same might be said for edge rusher. Clowney has shown interest in returning to Cleveland, but has also said that money would be the deciding factor in his future destination.
On defense, re-signing Clowney is expected to be the Browns’ top priority in what is building up to be a pivotal summer for their future.
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