Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns lost 45-7 in Week 11 of the NFL season. Cian Fahey and Ronan Mullen discussed the game on this week's episode of The Snap.
Baker Mayfield was the first-overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft.
The Browns drafted him to work with head coach Hue Jackson. Before the end of Mayfield's rookie season, Jackson was fired. Freddie Kitchens replaced him in year two, before he was fired for underachieving with Mayfield Kevin Stefanski won 11 games with Mayfield in year three by relying on a run-oriented offence.
Stefanski lost just six regular-season games last year. He wasn't fired. But his Browns have lost five regular-season games already this year.
Blaming Odell Beckham is a popular past time in America. Troy Aikman is already blaming him for the Rams' most recent loss. But Beckham is no longer a Browns player. Beckham didn't play against the Patriots this past weekend. Now the Browns have to figure out their next move.
After the Beckham trade, the Browns locked up two offensive linemen. Joel Bitonio signed a $48 million extension. Wyatt Teller signed a $56.8 million extension.
What about Mayfield?
"Paying him doesn't do anything good," Fahey said.
"This is just this idea of 'Because we spent the first overall pick on him, then he's our guy so we're going to pay him and keep him.' And they'll do that. But they're just going to be like a Kirk Cousins team. The Minnesota Vikings have paid Kirk Cousins three times now based on restructures and the original deal.
"And they keep him there even though he proves every year that he's going to cost you games and you're not going to win with him. Mayfield is the same thing."
After Mayfield's rookie year with the Browns, they were the talk of the NFL. The biggest media outlets profiled Mayfield while he made big predictions and spoke brashly about the Browns' prospects. The Browns faltered. They fired Freddie Kitchens. The Browns lost 10 regular-season games.
The Browns hired Kevin Stefanski after Kitchens. Stefanski established himself in Minnesota by asking Kirk Cousins to do less in a run-oriented offence.
"That rookie year. Everyone forgets that Freddie Kitchens and that coaching staff came in and played this really, really specific style of offence. It was a misdirection, play-action offence where the quarterback had very little to do. He was able to execute a lot of safe throws, easy throws that weren't dangerous to do. They stayed ahead of the down-and-distance.
"His numbers were so misleading as a rookie. And it was obvious from year two and year three that he was just not the right guy."
The Browns finished the 2020 season at 11-5. Mayfield was less problematic in year three but he was mostly just benefiting from doing less. Now he is in year four and the Browns are 5-5. He is in line for a new contract after this season. The Browns have not yet talked to him about it.
Fahey doesn't think the Browns should keep him. But he knows they probably will.
"He hasn't developed since then. If you're in year four and you're still making critical errors, you're still making errors that you'd be mad at a rookie for making, you're just not the guy. They'll change the coaching staff, they'll change the personnel. They'll keep blaming guys like Odell Beckham. Eventually, they'll be 15 years in, they'll have won nothing and gone nowhere.
"And they'll never figure out why."
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