With their playoff chances dropping at zero after a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17, the Cleveland Browns opted to shut down their starting quarterback Baker Mayfield for the upcoming regular-season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals. The decision was confirmed by the team’s head coach Kevin Stefanski, who also revealed that Mayfield is set to undergo shoulder surgery at some point this week.
Mayfield has been dealing with a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder since Week 2 but opted to postpone the surgery to try and get Cleveland to the postseason. But despite all of his good intentions, the Browns struggled for the better part of 2021 and are guaranteed to finish the season with a losing record and at the bottom of AFC North.
Mayfield will finish the season with career-low 3,010 passing yards and 17 touchdowns. He also had 13 interceptions in 14 games he played.
“I’ve continued to lay it out on the line when I haven’t been healthy and tried to fight for our guys,” said Mayfield after the news became official. “Now it’s time for me to start looking at what’s in the best interest of me and my health.”
Baker Mayfield was considered the Cleveland Browns’ quarterback of the future entering the 2021 season, but his ongoing struggles have reportedly made this less certain moving forward. The Browns have previously exercised a fifth-year option on his rookie contract, but the two sides still haven’t engaged in talks about a long-term extension.
Since being selected with the first overall pick in 2018, Mayfield has thrown for 14,125 yards and 92 touchdowns. The Browns went 29-30 with the Oklahoma product as their starting quarterback.