Baker Mayfield Rumors: Browns Plan to Start QB in 2022 amid Trade Buzz

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 9, 2022

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) gestures during the second half an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
AP Photo/Don Wright

The Cleveland Browns reportedly plan on having Baker Mayfield as their starting quarterback in 2022.

Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported Mayfield and Browns coach Kevin Stefanski are "on the same page" despite reports of tension between the pair. Mayfield is set to miss Cleveland's Week 18 game against the Cincinnati Bengals because of a shoulder injury that plagued him for much of the 2021 season.

Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported Mayfield's had frustrations with Stefanski and his playcalling that "bubbled below the surface most of the season." Mayfield issued a forceful response to the article, calling it "clickbait" on Twitter.

"You and many other Cleveland local media continue to be drama stirring reporters with no sources or facts. Don’t put words in my mouth so you can put food on your table. I’m not your puppet," Mayfield tweeted.

Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt also denied any tension between Mayfield and Stefanski.

"I've seen zero of that. ... I know the line of communication is wide open between those two guys. I know they've met weekly on Tuesdays to make sure everything is good. I don't feel that at all," Van Pelt told reporters Thursday.

Mayfield threw for 3,010 yards and 17 touchdowns against 13 interceptions in 2021, with a series of injuries and his own poor decision-making hampering an otherwise stellar offense. The Browns are fourth in the NFL in rushing and average a league-high 5.1 yards per carry heading into Week 18, with Stefanski's scheme finding success even when Cleveland was down to third-string running back D'Ernest Johnson.

Mayfield was the obvious weakest link in what should have been a playoff-caliber offense. Odell Beckham Jr. has thrived since leaving the Browns midseason for the Los Angeles Rams, which came thanks in large part because of a social-media blitz of Mayfield criticism coming from Beckham's camp.

With Mayfield heading into the 2022 campaign in the final year of his contract, it's looking like a make-or-break season.