Fox Sports Radio host Colin Cowherd believes the Cleveland Browns will make a decision on quarterback Baker Mayfield’s future with the team based on his play during the next four games.
The Browns (1-1) are scheduled to play the Washington Football Team (1-1) on Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 4, the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 11 and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 18.
“The general manager [Andrew Berry] did not draft him. This head coach [Kevin Stefanski] did not select him,” Cowherd said. “They inherited him, and it’s really easy in professional sports, as a general manager, to bail on somebody else’s picks.
“It’s much tougher to bail on your own because you’d have to acknowledge, ‘Oh, I screwed up’ to the owner.”
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) September 24, 2020
On Thursday, Cowherd called the next four weeks “crucial” for Mayfield’s future with the team.
Specifically, Cowherd discussed Mayfield’s lack of ability to play quarterback while facing defensive pressure, at least if the first two games of the 2020 season are any indication.
“Washington and Pittsburgh have scary pass rushes and Indy’s is emerging as really good,” Cowherd said. “Why does it matter? Mayfield, according to Pro Football Reference, is awful under pressure. He completes [35.3%] of his throws under pressure.”
Mayfield’s completion percentage under pressure ranks 29th in the NFL.
His quarterback rating of 24.6 while under pressure ranks 33rd in the league.
“In a league where many of the good young quarterbacks are excellent escaping pressure, Baker is terrible under pressure,” Cowherd.
Cowherd said Washington brings “heat” on its defensive front.
Through the first two weeks of the season, the Washington Football Team has a league-leading 11 sacks.
The Steelers rank second with 10 sacks and the Colts are tied for third with seven sacks.
Cowherd said he believes the Steelers defense has the best front seven in football.
“The Colts acquired DeForest Buckner, they’ve got a healthy pass rush,” Cowherd said. “Dallas doesn’t, and you’re going to get into a shootout in that game at Dallas where Dak [Prescott] usually plays really, really well.”
Mayfield, 25, is in the third year of his four-year rookie contract, which includes a fifth-year team option for 2022.
“They’re going to make a decision in a month,” Cowherd said. “He faces the three pass rushes in the NFL. People make decisions privately, long before they make them publicly.”
The Browns selected Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma.
If the Browns beat the Washington Football Team this Sunday, it will mark the first time the Browns have had a winning record since Nov. 23, 2014, after a Week 12 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
The Browns were 7-4 at the time.
For years, Cowherd has criticized Mayfield and the Browns.
Cowherd has said he believes the Browns should have taken Sam Darnold with the first overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.
While Mayfield has a better record as a starting quarterback (13-18) than Darnold (11-17), it’s hard to argue with many of Cowherd’s criticisms.
The Browns have the longest active postseason drought in the NFL, having last made the playoffs in the 2002 season.
Perhaps the league’s expanded playoff format could help the Browns in 2020 with seven teams from each conference making the postseason.