Baker Mayfield knows Year 3 is big for his, Browns future

Mayfield has been quiet this offseason because it's time to work, not talk about it

Daryl Ruiter
May 27, 2020 - 3:55 pm
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Baker Mayfield doesn’t need to be told how important this season is for him.

He also doesn’t feel the need to talk about it either.

“There’s no doubt Year 3 is always a big year in these contracts and timing-wise, everybody knows that,” Mayfield said Wednesday on a Zoom call with reporters. “I’m not going to put any added pressure on myself. There’s no need for that. Because if I win, good things will happen. Good things will happen for our team and the guys around. That’s the most important part.

“If I play better — that’s why quarterback is one of those positions that’s the hardest in sports. If I play better, our team’s going to do better. So I put that pressure on myself. So it doesn’t matter what year it is, I have to be way better each year.”

After this season, the Browns will begin deciding whether to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. They’ll also likely begin laying the groundwork for an extension or possibly prepare to move on should 2020 not go well.

In 2019 Mayfield was unable to build off a strong rookie season that saw him breathe life into a listless franchise and he regressed.

He threw 21 interceptions, completed just 59.4% of his passes and had a 78.8 passer rating.

The Browns failed to live up to expectations, finishing 6-10.

Part of that was coaching. Part of that was Mayfield.

Righting the ship isn’t going to be easy.

Mayfield is now in the process of learning his third offense in as many years – this one belonging to new head coach Kevin Stefanski and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt. He’s also trying to do it while quarantined in Texas and over video conferencing with teammates and coaches with no OTA’s or – for now – minicamps to take the field and install it.

“No, it’s not an excuse for me,” Mayfield said of the volatility and lack of consistency he’s experienced since being selected No. 1 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. “I said and I always have, the best quality about a quarterback is raising the productivity and the level of guys around him. So it doesn’t matter what’s going on if I do my job and try and do that, I’ll be playing quarterback at a high level.

“So you know, yeah, Year 3, but the goal every year is to make the Super Bowl. If you don’t set that goal, then you’re playing for the wrong reasons. And not playing to win. It’s not an excuse.”

His top two receivers – Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry – are both recovering and rehabbing from offseason surgeries.

“Those guys are working extremely hard after their surgeries for the rehab process,” Mayfield said. “They look really good and they say they feel really good. It appears that way. It is just a different mindset going into it.

“I think they went back to the basics. They are ready to take over and it is their time now. They know that. We only have so many more opportunities together. They are going to do it, everything for each and I am looking forward to seeing the productivity they have.”

Mayfield’s video conference Wednesday was the first time he’s spoken since leaving Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati Dec. 29 following a 33-23 loss that saw Freddie Kitchens fired that night and general manager John Dorsey shown the door a few days later.

This offseason has been about getting back to the basics, even if he can’t do it in Berea.

Mayfield has toned down his social media presence.

Mayfield didn’t make the media rounds at the Super Bowl. He has stayed out of the headlines.

“I have a different approach this year,” Mayfield said. “I think everybody who has been interviewed on our team has hit the nail on the head over and over about this is time to work. It is time to do our thing, instead of talking about it. This is the first media thing I have done, just because there is no need to be talking about it. It is just time to go do it and right now, it is moving in silence, which is fine with me. That is how I used to do it before getting on a bigger stage, so I am happy to get back to those roots.”