Baker Mayfield at Browns crossroads after disappointing season

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Baker Mayfield ended last season playing like a quarterback who was ready to land a big extension.

He’s ending this season raising questions about his future with the Browns, and more immediately, requiring surgery.

A beat-up Mayfield continued to hobble toward the finish line Monday night, getting sacked nine times and at one point throwing 10 straight incompletions in the Browns’ 26-14 loss to the Steelers.

After the Browns sank to 7-9, eliminated from playoff contention, Mayfield confirmed he would undergo offseason shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, an injury he has reportedly been playing through since Week 2. He also did not shut down the idea that he would sit out the Browns’ regular-season finale against the Bengals.

“I’m an extremely competitive guy,” Mayfield told reporters Monday night. “Now it’s time for me to start looking at what’s in the best interest of me and my health.

Baker Mayfield has a pass deflected by the Steelers on Jan. 3, 2022.
USA TODAY Sports

“I’ve continued to lay it out on the line and I haven’t been healthy and tried to fight for our guys. Right now, I’m pretty damn beat up to be honest with you. There’s no way around it. I gave it everything I had tonight.”

Baker Mayfield gets helped up by Browns teammates.
Baker Mayfield gets helped up by Browns teammates.
AP

On the season, Mayfield has completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He has also reportedly been hampered by foot and knee injuries.

Mayfield walks off the field after the Browns' loss to the Steelers.
Mayfield walks off the field after the Browns’ loss to the Steelers.
USA TODAY Sports

The 26-year-old has one year left on his rookie contract at $18.86 million, after the Browns exercised his fifth-year option last offseason. Mayfield led the Browns to the playoffs last year, but has been much less effective this season, clouding his future with the organization.

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs [this season],” Mayfield said. “Do I believe I could play better? Absolutely. Do I believe there’s positions that we, as an offense could have been put in that are better? Absolutely. There’s so many critiques throughout the year. If there wasn’t, we wouldn’t be sitting here at 7-9.”

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