Browns GM: Baker Mayfield Expected to Bounce Back as Team's Starting QB Next Year

Erin WalshJanuary 11, 2022

CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after defeating the Houston Texans 31-21 at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry echoed supportive comments made by head coach Kevin Stefanski on Monday about quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Berry told reporters Tuesday the Browns "fully expect" Mayfield to be their starting quarterback and "bounce back" in 2022 after struggling through an injury-plagued 2021 season.

"It's easy to forget at this point of the year what we've seen with Baker over the past several years," Berry said. "We've been with Baker for a long period—we know his work ethic, we know his drive, we've seen him [be] a talented passer in this league and we're looking forward to him getting healthy and continue to make improvements."

Stefanski made similar comments Monday: "He pushed through it, and I know he wants to perform better, I've seen him perform better. He played winning football for us, so I fully expect him to bounce back next year."

After a successful 2020 campaign, going 11-5 and reaching the divisional round, the Browns were expected to reach the playoffs in 2021. However, Mayfield had a rough season as the Browns finished 8-9. 

The 26-year-old completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 14 games. He also finished 27th in the NFL with a 35.3 Total QBR, a significant dip from his 65.5 rating in 2021.

However, Mayfield played through injuries, including a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. The Oklahoma product suffered the injury during Week 2 and had to wear a harness to keep his shoulder in place throughout the season.

Mayfield is expected to have shoulder surgery Jan. 19, and the Browns will hope he can participate in team activities beginning in May. The 2018 first overall pick is entering the final year of his rookie contract after the Browns exercised his fifth-year option last offseason.

If Mayfield can stay healthy and put together a solid 2022 season, he'll likely be rewarded with a large contract. If he struggles for a second straight season, the Browns might be looking for another franchise quarterback come 2023.