Quarterback Baker Mayfield’s tenure with the Cleveland Browns didn’t end on a good note, despite bursts of excellent play during his four seasons with the team.
After someone in the organization reportedly said the team would prefer “an adult” under center, Mayfield asked for a trade, and months later, he was sent to the Carolina Panthers.
Upon joining his new team, Mayfield was thought to be in an open battle with Sam Darnold to be its starting quarterback for Week 1 of the regular season, and Mayfield won that battle.
Ironically, that Week 1 contest will be against the Browns, which means he will be taking on his former mates.
But one of them, All-Pro pass rusher Myles Garrett, doesn’t think it will be any type of a grudge match.
Baker Mayfield said the opener against the Browns will mean something to him. Myles Garrett feels differently: “There’s no rivalry there between me and him. There’s no rivalry there between the Panthers and the Browns.” #Browns pic.twitter.com/E6oi4KaOAI
— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) August 23, 2022
“He’s my former teammate,” Garrett said. “But I don’t have any … there’s no rivalry between me and him and there’s no rivalry between the Panthers and the Browns. Yes, he was here but that doesn’t mean I have an added sense of urgency to get to him.”
Mayfield Didn’t Get Along Very Well With Others In Cleveland
In his last season with the Browns, Mayfield’s connection to the team seemed to fall apart.
After getting along well with head coach Kevin Stefanski in 2020, that relationship soured, and Stefanski reportedly lost confidence in his QB as the year went on.
Mayfield is certainly a mercurial figure who may not be as mature as some other 27-year-old signal-callers, but he did have his moments in Cleveland.
As a rookie, he set an NFL rookie record for most touchdown passes with 27, and in doing so, he finished second in the Offensive Rookie of the Year balloting while electrifying all of Northeast Ohio.
The region thought it may have had a new hero for what was then a long-suffering Browns team, especially just months after LeBron James had left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time.
In 2020, Mayfield led the Browns to an 11-5 record, and by winning the wild card round of the playoffs versus the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37, he got the Browns their first postseason victory since the 1994 season.
He still has plenty of talent, and since he’s still fairly young, he should have the opportunity to rectify whatever has been ailing him and become a consistently good quarterback in the years to come, whether it’s for the Panthers or some other squad.
Garrett Will Be A Big Key For Cleveland
With Cleveland’s new QB, Deshaun Watson, suspended for the first 11 games of the regular season, Garrett’s ability to harass opposing signal-callers will be sorely needed if the team is to compete for a playoff spot.
While Mayfield was the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Garrett was the top pick in the previous year’s draft, but unlike Mayfield, he took a little time to develop.
Garrett got his first Pro Bowl nod in his second season by notching 13.5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and 29 quarterback hits, and after an injury-riddled 2019 campaign, he truly blossomed in 2020.
That year, he was named to the All-Pro First-Team for his first time, and last year, he got another such selection while posting career-highs in passes defended (3), sacks (16), tackles for loss (17) and QB hits (33).
MYLES GARRETT DESERVES DPOY 😤pic.twitter.com/kik6C7LwrB
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) December 12, 2021
The Browns will have to win ugly while Watson is out, which means winning with defense, and their defense seems to start with Garrett’s pressure up front.