Now that week one of the NFL season is behind us, it is time for Cleveland Browns fans to get Carolina Panthers and former Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield out of their system and move on.
Mayfield was the first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and will be the guy. He was supposed to solve all the Cleveland Browns’ problems and hopefully take the franchise places it’s never been before.
When Mayfield first got to Cleveland, he was brought in by general manager John Dorsey who was very passionate about drafting him, and it looks like Dorsey dropped the ball on that one. Mayfield was also coached by Hue Jackson, who won one game in the first two seasons before Mayfield arrived.
You could tell that Jackson and Mayfield didn’t have a good relationship from the start, and it goes back to the days of Hard Knocks when Jackson brought Mayfield into his office to tell him he won the second-string quarterback job behind starter Tyrod Taylor.
Mayfield also had to deal with former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley as his new offensive coordinator, which was a mess. Haley had issues in Pittsburgh that led to him not going back and coaching there, and he would join a Cleveland Browns coaching staff that was already a walking dumpster fire.
Mayfield’s One Shining Moment
Mayfield’s first regular season game came in week three in 2018 against quarterback Sam Darnold who was picked number three overall in the 2018 draft by the New York Jets. The Browns were down early in the game, and Brown’s quarterback Tyrod Taylor left with an injury before the half, and it was time for Mayfield to show up and ball out.
Mayfield was on fire that game and led the Browns to a comeback victory to give them their first win since the 2016 season. The city of Cleveland was partying like it did when the Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Finals. It felt like the Browns finally found their franchise quarterback after trying for almost two decades.
The rest of the 2018 season would have a bunch of ups and downs. Jackson and Haley were both fired in the middle of the season, leading to Brown’s defensive coordinator Greg Williams taking over as interim head coach and running backs coach Freddie Kitchens taking over as offensive coordinator.
Williams, who also had his own NFL problems, was the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints and the Bountygate scandal’s leader. The NFL would suspend him for an entire season in 2012, but he found his way back by taking a job with the Tennessee Titans.
The Browns would end up finishing the 2018 season strong, which had to do with the play calling of Freddie Kitchens. Williams was not asked back to be the head coach in 2019, but Kitchens was invited back and named head coach.
The Season Of Chaos
The 2019 season started great with acquiring New York Giants star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. It felt like the Browns were going to win the Super Bowl that year, and nothing was going to stop them.
The reality of the situation is that the Browns were stopped by their new head coach andquarterback, who only knew how to throw to the other team. Kitchens were not ready to be a head coach; he was over his head, and Mayfield couldn’t find Beckham to save his life. Everyone was blaming Beckham and said that he was the issue, but when have you ever heard of a good quarterback not being able to get the ball great receiver the ball?
The Browns also dealt with the Myles Garrett helmet incident that season, and Kitchens was seen out in public with a Pittsburgh-started shirt. The season was a giant mess, and Kitchens was relieved of his head coaching duties after one year, and that was a good thing.
Mayfield had to deal with a lot through his first two NFL seasons, but it finally felt like Mayfield was going to be around grownups in 2020.
Mayfield Finally Looked Comfortable
The Cleveland Browns hired general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski to oversee the franchise that was going off a cliff. Berry and Stefanski are two respectable people around the NFL, and it felt good to have two adults that were going to take over.
The 2020 season was great for Mayfield and the Browns, and they could go to the playoffs and beat their divisional rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in the wild-card game. Mayfield looked like he would be the franchise quarterback for the next decade, and Stefanski would be coaching in Cleveland for the next 30 years.
The 2021 season would finally get here, and the Browns had all the hopes in the world that this would be the year they would hold up the Lombardi trophy.
Mayfield’s Last Dance
The 2021 season was heartbreaking, and Mayfield got injured in week two and was never able to recover from it all season. Yes, he was playing with an injury, but you could tell something wrong upstairs was affecting his game.
The 2022 offseason came, and it was over for Mayfield in a Cleveland Browns uniform. The Browns decided it was time to make a run at a new quarterback, and reports that they were going to target Houston Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson.
On a social media break, Mayfield got off his little break to release a letter thanking the city of Cleveland before Watson even signed with the Browns.
Reports came out the next day that Watson decided to pull the Browns out of the running and told them they were no longer in it. Mayfield also requested a trade around that time, and the Browns had no plans of moving him.
A reported quote from the Cleveland Browns front office that they wanted an adult at quarterback and a breakup was coming. Nobody had any idea what Mayfield had done that would make him not seem like an adult, but I guess there was something that the public was not seeing.
Everyone knows Mayfield had maturity issues from the University of Oklahoma, but what 23-year-old doesn’t have maturity issues? It seemed like Mayfield was the same guy that Dorsey fell in love with coming out of college, and the new Cleveland Browns’ front office and coaching staff weren’t having it.
Let’s be honest for a second: if Mayfieldweres a top ten quarterback in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns would not care that he lacks maturity. The problem is Mayfield is not a top ten quarterback, and you could argue he’s not even top 20, and the Browns didn’t want to put up with it anymore because his production was just not worth it.
The Browns went after Watson, who had sexual allegations against him and is serving an 11-game suspension now because Watson is a top ten quarterback in the NFL and can play with any quarterback in the league, unlike Mayfield.
Watson decided to bring the Browns back in the running and ended up signing with them, which was going to send Mayfield packing.
The Cleveland Browns’ schedule came out in the middle of May, and at the top of week one showed them playing at the Carolina Panthers. That was ironic because it sounded like Mayfield was going to end up there the entire draft season and draft night.
Mayfield ended up in Carolina by trade in early July, and the NFL got exactly what they wanted a week one matchup vs. his former team.
It was a constant conversation around Cleveland for months, and it was just exhausting. It seemed like it divided the city, and there were former Browns fans who are considered Baker bros talking about how great Mayfield was going to do and current Browns fans slamming Mayfield, and it was going on and on and on.
Mayfield also added to the party by making a T-shirt that said Baker Mayfield off the leash, taking a shot at the Cleveland Browns as they put him on some leash. If the leash was turning him into a game manager quarterback, he should thank the Browns because when he let it fly, it didn’t go so well.
Mayfield also had a quote that was heard all around the world. After his last preseason game, he ran into NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund, and they both shared their thoughts about the week one matchup against the Cleveland Browns.
Frelund stated on the Around the NFL Podcast that Mayfield told her that he would blank up the Browns. We all know what the blank is, and Mayfield decided to take those words back. He denied the reports and said he would blank the Browns up.
The game finally got here, and Mayfield wasn’t exactly blanking the Browns up. He was struggling for most of the game other than when the Browns secondary would leave guys 50 yards wide open down the field.
Mayfield also did something he struggled doing in Cleveland: leading a team on drive at the end of the game and taking a head lead with a field goal with 1:17 seconds left.
The Carolina Panthers had a two-point lead, and the Cleveland Browns’ offense would take the field. The Browns got bailed out with a horrible roughing the passer call on Panther’s Brian Burns and a missed call on a spike from Brissett that was probably intentional grounding, but the officials picked up the flag.
Did the Browns get bailed out on some calls? The Browns have been on the other side for so many years, and it was nice to be on the winning side for once.
Browns rookie kicker Cade York would come out and hit a 58-yard field goal with eight seconds left to give the Browns a one-point lead, and the Browns would win their first season opener since 2004.
Mayfield couldn’t believe that he just lost on a 58-yard field goal where it looked like the Panthers had the win secured.
After the game, Mayfield talked to former teammates and was at his postgame press conference. Mayfield had some words about the game, and he stated, “Everybody made this out to be the Super Bowl, but despite what everyone is going to make this, The Super Bowl is not until February, and this is the beginning of September.”
Can someone please tell Mayfield that he was the one making it out to be the Super Bowl by making T-shirts and saying he was going to blank up the Browns? I’m sure he would’ve had a different reaction if he was on the winning side of this.
It feels good to put all the Mayfield drama away, and everyone can move on. It’s probably better that the Browns moved from him when they did, but I still hope for the best for Mayfield, but it doesn’t seem like he’s exactly in paradise in Carolina with their head coach Matt Rhule on the hot seat and Mayfield will be a free agent after this season.
Every Browns fan can agree they will be rooting for Mayfield this season when he plays the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, and Pittsburgh Steelers. Hopefully, Mayfield can help his old team and beat their divisional rivals.
The Baker Mayfield roller coaster ride in Cleveland is officially over, and it is not a ride that I want to experience again. Thank You, Mayfield, for your four seasons in Cleveland, and best of luck to you.
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