Playing through various injuries throughout the year, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled throughout the 2021 season.
In 15 games, he completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,010 yards with a career-low 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The Browns went 6-8 in his 14 starts, as he missed two games to injury and one while on the COVID-19 list.
Mayfield’s last two starts were particularly poor, as he tossed four interceptions in the Christmas Day loss to Green Bay. And he completed only 42 percent of his passes in the Week 17 loss to Pittsburgh.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski was asked multiple times during the season if the team was considering sitting Mayfield to give him time to heal. But the only game Mayfield missed due to injury while Cleveland was still in postseason contention was the team’s Week 7 Thursday win over Denver.
“Baker fought through those injuries, was medically cleared to play each of those weeks and practiced throughout those weeks and felt good,” Stefanski said Monday, via Ben Axelrod of WKYC. “I don’t think Baker’s using any of that as an excuse and not denying that guys play through injuries.”
Stefanski added that he’s seen Mayfield play at a high level and anticipates the QB having a better 2022.
“I fully expect him to bounce back next year,” Stefanski said, via Jake Trotter of ESPN.
The No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 draft, Mayfield is under contract through 2022 on his fifth-year option. But beyond that, the future is murky for Cleveland and its quarterback.