He experienced extreme highs and lows and is a polarizing figure for Browns fans.
Grading him is not an easy task, and with so many opinions, this grade is bound to be loved and hated by many.
To begin with, let’s rule out the obvious grades.
If his performance had been an “A” effort over four years, he would still be the Browns quarterback.
On the opposite end, he had some success so an “F” is not warranted either.
That leaves us with either B, C, or D for Baker.
A “C” seems appropriate and here are the reasons why.
1. A Less Than Stellar Touchdown To Interception Ratio
Mayfield has thrown 92 touchdowns to 56 interceptions.
While it is a high bar to compare him to, Aaron Rodgers threw 137 touchdowns to 15 interceptions during the same four-season span.
Patrick Mahomes threw 151 touchdowns and 36 interceptions in the same time span.
The most accurate month of his career was in November 2020 when he threw 0 interceptions; he ironically shared that record with Deshaun Watson.
— Cleveland Browns. (@brownupdater) December 4, 2020
2. Game-Winning Drives (Or Lack Thereof)
In 60 career games, Mayfield had 6 comebacks and 7 game-winning drives.
Compared to his peers who have played in a similar number of games tells the tale.
Josh Allen, in 61 games, has 8 comebacks and 11 game-winning drives.
Patrick Mahomes, in 63 games, has 9 comebacks and 10 game-winning drives.
The Browns lost too many close games in the fourth quarter in 2021.
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) January 12, 2022
No, that is not entirely on Baker, but he had opportunities to win games late and could not do it starting in Week 1 against the Chiefs.
Baker Mayfield throws the game losing interception trying to avoid a sack and the Kansas City #Chiefs has completed the comeback against the Cleveland #Browns 33-29. Mahomes is undefeated in September in his career. #NFL
— Justin Time Sports (@JTIMESPORTS) September 12, 2021
3. Playing Through Injury
Let’s just call the 2021 season a mistake.
Mayfield was injured in Week 2 against the Houston Texans (ironically).
Had he and/or the Browns shut things down and allowed him to recover and heal, the Browns and Baker ultimately would have been better off.
That is not to say he would still be the Browns QB1; Deshaun Watson may still have gotten the job, but preserving his health should have been the highest priority.
No one disputes that Baker had a lot of extenuating circumstances, most notably a constant coaching carousel that did not allow him to have stability or consistency as a young player.
This is not a problem unique to him.
In fact, Trevor Lawrence has already undergone similar turbulence in his young career.
Dealing with it maturely and making something positive come out of a bad situation are qualities that define a good player.
Baker showed signs of promise but never was consistent enough during all the turmoil.
If you ask 10 people, you will get 10 different opinions on Baker’s legacy in Cleveland.
He brought a swagger and won a playoff game, something that fans will never forget.
Baker was a positive force in the community.
All of these things are true, but quite honestly Browns fans have been through so many quarterbacks and roster rebuilds that they just want to win often and have minimal drama while doing it.
Baker did not deliver on either of those fronts.