Most fans of the Cleveland Browns believe Baker Mayfield is the organization’s franchise quarterback, but there’s obviously a sect somewhere in the organization who’s hesitant to give the 2018 No. 1 overall pick the $40 million it would take to sign him.
Mayfield made big strides in getting the Browns a playoff victory last season, but there was still one lingering question regarding whether the former Heisman winner could be a franchise quarterback: Could he win with the clock running down and the ball in his hands?
The answer for now, is no.
For as great as Mayfield was last season, we didn’t really get to see him in this type of situation a season ago. We were robbed of seeing him with an opportunity last January in Kansas City because the Browns never got the ball back.
We saw it in Week 1, though. Then Browns played out of their minds to hold a lead against the Chiefs for most of the game. Patrick Mahomes went Superman and led the Chiefs back.
But after all of Kansas City’s late-game heroics, there was Mayfield and the Browns, down four and with the ball at the two-minute warning.
It looked like Mayfield was going to put an exclamation point next to the phrase Baker Mayfield, Franchise Quarterback. He beautifully hit Donovan Peoples-Jones in stride for a short gain that left the chains moving.
He then hit Hunt on a screen pass which got the ball to the Cleveland 48.
But on the next play, 3rd and short–and in two-down territory–Mayfield couldn’t find an open receiver. He tried to make something happen, which he did so often in college. He was hit as he fired. Easy interception along the sideline. The Chiefs got the best of the Browns again.
It’s the only true test we’ve gotten to see with Mayfield under Stefanski, and the quarterback crashed. Hopefully, we’ll see him get another shot. Analytics doesn’t come to conclusions on such small sample sizes.
But remember, there’s hesitancy in there somewhere about extending Mayfield and he didn’t display the “It” factory today that’s supposed to separate him from other quarterbacks.