Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns gave Cleveland something it hadn’t received in over 20 years — a win in the playoffs. However, Browns fans don’t want to just make the playoffs; they want to contend for Super Bowls. This means that the team could add a couple of big-time NFL players this offseason. So, who could they potentially sign? One player to keep an eye on is former All-Pro defensive back Richard Sherman, whose contract with the San Francisco 49ers is now up.
Baker Mayfield’s improved stats helped lead the Browns to the playoffs
Baker Mayfield initially struggled and put up poor stats with the Browns after going to the team with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.
He did show some promise in his rookie season, throwing for 3,725 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions in 14 games. The Browns also improved from 0-16 to 7-8-1.
However, Cleveland took a big step back in 2019, as the Browns went 6-10 and missed the playoffs for the 17th consecutive season. Baker Mayfield struggled significantly, too, and his stats proved it. He threw for 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns, and a whopping 21 interceptions.
In 2020, though, Mayfield’s play and stats improved greatly, and the Browns were one of the best teams in the league. He threw for 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns, and only eight interceptions. Additionally, as a team, the Browns ended up going 11-5 and making the playoffs. They then even won their first playoff game since the 1994 season when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37. Cleveland, however, ultimately lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round, 22-17.
The Browns certainly improved in 2020. They could still improve more in some areas, though, which is where Richard Sherman potentially comes in.
Richard Sherman’s contract with the 49ers is up
After going to the Seahawks in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL draft, Sherman recorded 55 total tackles and four interceptions in 2011. However, starting in 2012, Sherman went on one of the most dominant runs of any cornerback in NFL history. He earned First-Team All-Pro honors in three consecutive seasons from 2012 through 2014, as he led the NFL in passes defended with 24 in 2012. Sherman also intercepted eight passes in 2012 and 2013, leading the league in that category during the 2013 season.
He then ultimately earned Pro Bowl selections in four consecutive seasons from 2013 through 2016 with Seattle and also helped lead the Seahawks to two consecutive Super Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014. Sherman and the Seahawks ultimately won the Super Bowl during that 2013 season, too.
In 2018, though, Sherman joined the 49ers and has been there since then. He only played in five games with San Francisco in 2020, but he just earned Pro Bowl honors with the 49ers in 2019. He intercepted three passes that season and recorded 61 total tackles, which were the second-most tackles in a season for his career. His play also helped lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl, but they ended up losing to the Chiefs.
Richard Sherman’s contract with the 49ers only went through 2020. So, he is now a free agent. He has also said that he only wants to play two more years and wants to play “on a competitive team” where he can help its “defense come together like it should and reach their potential,” per ESPN.
So, could that team be the Browns?
Richard Sherman could help the Browns go deep in the playoffs
According to USA Today’s Browns Wire, there has been speculation and rumors connecting Sherman to Baker Mayfield’s team, the Browns. There haven’t been any solid reports connecting the two sides, but NBA star CJ McCollum, who is from Ohio, tweeted Sherman, “Yoooo [Richard Sherman]. Just want you to know. We would love to have you in The land with my squad [the Browns]. If you need recommendations on places to live or restaurants let me know.”
Sherman then tweeted him back, saying, “I appreciate you [CJ McCollum]! We will see how the process pans out in a month! But I hear you.”
That’s nothing concrete, but the fact that the Browns made the divisional round and that they have a defense with the potential to become really good with Sherman and guys like Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward could make Cleveland a perfect destination for him.
Baker Mayfield and the Browns already proved in their game against the Chiefs that they should be taken seriously in the playoffs. Adding a couple of talented veterans like Sherman, though — who has already played in three Super Bowls — could help them contend with the Chiefs for the AFC title.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference