Cleveland Browns: 3 reasons Baker Mayfield is still The Franchise QB

Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

Baker Mayfield pushed through injuries for the Cleveland Browns in 2021

The above picture marks the moment that many thought the season was over for Baker Mayfield. After initially hurting his shoulder against the Houston Texans, Mayfield was driven into the ground by J.J. Watt and was helped off by trainers. That was week six.

It’s now through week 17 and Mayfield missed just two games, and one wasn’t even due to this injury but to COVID. Later diagnosed as a torn left shoulder labrum and a fracture in the same shoulder, Mayfield has been playing through injuries this season that typically sideline players for multiple weeks.

An injury of that nature will clearly change the way a season goes for any player pushing through the pain. For Mayfield, that meant playing with a brace on his left shoulder that restricted movement. Playing a position that requires the left shoulder to lead the way for accurate throws, this clearly harmed Mayfield’s statistics and accuracy throughout the season. Mayfield also had knee and foot injuries that forced him to change his weight balance during his throwing motion, further harming his accuracy.

Despite the restriction, Mayfield still threw only 13 interceptions this season, the second fewest of his career behind only last season. That’s the same amount as Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson and fewer than Joe Burrow, Josh Allen and Matthew Stafford.

It was no doubt a down season for Mayfield, but what he was able to do given the conditions of his body still chalked up as an average season for an NFL quarterback. Fans of the Cleveland Browns want more than average under center, but once healthy Baker Mayfield can still provide that.