Baker Mayfield started seven games as a walk-on freshman at Texas Tech in 2013. But when then-Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury opened the quarterback competition among Mayfield, Davis Webb and Michael Brewer before the Holiday Bowl, Mayfield announced he was transferring because of “a lack of communication.”
Things worked out pretty well for Mayfield and Texas Tech. Mayfield won the Heisman at Oklahoma and became the No. 1 overall draft choice, and his departure from the Red Raiders opened the door for Patrick Mahomes.
Now, Mayfield is in a similar, but different, situation. The Browns are going to trade him somewhere after acquiring Deshaun Watson in a trade, giving Mayfield a chance to show up his former team.
“I haven’t been in this specific situation before, but it’s familiar territory when it comes to mindset and getting back to the basics and realizing what I need to do,” Mayfield said this weekend at OU’s spring game, via Cliff Brunt of the Associated Press. “And right now, I can control getting healthy, working and giving everything I have to wherever my next home is.”
Only 14 months after leading the Browns to their first playoff win in 26 years, Mayfield is leaving Cleveland. His departure also comes after Mayfield played through a torn labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder, starting 12 games with the injury.
“I think obviously, there’s a lot of ups and downs,” Mayfield said. “That’s just life. Everybody at the next level, throughout their careers, they hit a low point. And it’s not about that low point, it’s how you handle it. I’ve said that, it’s never the actual adversity or the challenge, it’s what you do with it and how you set your mind to it.”
Mayfield is owed $18.8 million next season, a price tag that could complicate a deal. He is scheduled to become a free agent in 2023.
Mayfield, though, is hopeful something happens this week.
“In the process of where I am right now, of not knowing the next landing spot — to be able to come back just potentially a week prior to wherever I’m going to find out — it’s pretty cool to come back to where this all started,” Mayfield said of being in Norman. “And it’s a good reset being around family, friends, loved ones, to just have that home base that you know, that you always have somewhere to go back to that you can lean on.”