Baker Mayfield is another polarizing young QB. As fans, we’ve seen and celebrated the highs and lived with the lows. Now entering year four and the final year of his contract, the question stands, should the Browns pay Baker?
The biggest argument against paying him, is his 2019 season, where we saw a promising Browns team fall to 6-10 and Baker throwing 22TDs and 21 INTs. Those stats were only amplified by 78.8 QBR (second to last in NFL) and 65.2% of his passing being on target (also second lowest).
A lot of their poor performance can be put on Baker’s shoulders, but most of that is on Freddie Kitchens. A good coach knows how to build a scheme that will compliment his players. A good coach will help a QB in year two develop. A good coach, realizes that every ball doesn’t have to be a bomb. Freddie was not a good coach and in turn, made his team awful.
We step forward into 2020, the season that shouldn’t have happened, and Kevin Stefanski came in and changed everything. He worked with Baker in a system that plays to his strengths. He helped the young QB develop and the result was a huge jump in production. Baker dropped his INTs from 21 (2019) to 8 and his completion percentage went up from 59.4% (2019) to 62.8%. Baker showed true development and growth, but now it’s time to break out the pen and paper.
Right now, Baker is looking at Allen, Jackson, and Prescott. He sees Prescott’s deal and knows he’s on that level, but he also sees the other QBs in his class ,who have arguably had more success, also waiting for their contract. Those comparisons could kill, especially with Jackson having the hardware, but I’ll die on this hill. Baker should get paid. His development was stunted by Freddie Kitchens’ and Hue Jackson’s system, but he has shown improvement, he has shown he’s a leader, and most important, he’s shown stability. Stability is something Browns fans haven’t had in…I don’t know…forever?
I’m not saying back up the Brinks truck, but pay him. We know what he can do with Stefanski and we know what he’s capable of. Instead of gambling on more rookies, stick with the guy who is finally developing into that talent we saw at Oklahoma.