Cam Newton finally has a new home in the NFL after months of waiting as he has inked a deal to join the New England Patriots. It’s a move that could have a sizable impact in the AFC next season. It’s also a situation that may influence another standing in the conference concerning the Cleveland Browns involving third-year quarterback Baker Mayfield. Following Newton’s news, there has been more to come out that may signal that Mayfield isn’t necessarily on some solid standing ground with the Browns for the long haul.
Baker Mayfield’s struggles in 2019 season
Following a promising rookie campaign that saw Baker Mayfield set the rookie record with 27 touchdown passes and earn the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, it set the bar significantly higher in 2019.
The Browns were coming off a busy offseason that saw them add star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the mix and several other notable veterans. That lifted the expectations toward the team competing for more than the AFC North division title. Cleveland bought into their hype with their talented offense commanded by Mayfield under center.
It didn’t turn out as hoped as the 25-year-old struggled to find his footing as he had 22 touchdown passes to 21 interceptions for 3,827 passing yards, a 59.4% completion rate, and a 78.8 passer rating. Mayfield had much difficulty finding any fluidity in his production as the offensive production fell well below the expectations. Cleveland fell well short of the playoffs finishing with a 6-10 record under first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens, who was fired after the season.
Browns interest in Cam Newton signals trouble for Baker Mayfield
The Browns’ struggles and Mayfield regression in his second campaign led to some chatter around his future.
Once again, that has cropped up after Adam Schefter of ESPN revealed in his podcast that Cleveland spoke to Cam Newton briefly before he signed with the Patriots.
“The truth of the matter is that Cam Newton did not have any other offers from any other teams…There was one team that did have a brief conversation with him. It was brief and it didn’t go very far. The Cleveland Browns did speake to Cam Newton at one point in time, but those talks never really went anywhere.”
Although those conversations didn’t go far with Newton, it does show that the team could be open to moving on from Mayfield. They wouldn’t have brought in the former league MVP to be his backup as the three-time Pro Bowler has more than shown to be a capable starting quarterback in the NFL.
If anything, it speaks to the Browns potentially having doubts that Mayfield is their long-term answer. It also places tremendous pressure on him to push forward in a significant way in 2020.
Baker Mayfield’s “Prove-It” 2020 season
Year 3 is a massive marker for any quarterbacks NFL’s career, which is especially the case for Baker Mayfield.
He is coming off a disappointing 2019 campaign that has pushed forward some doubt that he can be the game-changing factor that the Browns need at center. The team has headed in another direction at head coach bringing in Kevin Stefanski, who is heading into his first year with the position. Stefanski has already voiced some significant confidence in the former Heisman Trophy winner while the team has added more talent to their offensive line and another receiving option in tight end Austin Hooper this offseason.
The team will have their top-two receiving options in Pro Bowlers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry healthy. The pieces are once again in place for the Browns to make a notable leap. It will be on Mayfield’s shoulders to get the job done to finally lift the franchise to prominence and keep his spot for the long haul.