NFL

The Cleveland Browns Just Suffered a $32 Million COVID-19 Blow

The Cleveland Browns have been one of the more successful teams in the NFL in keeping COVID-19 out of the locker room during this unique season, but they may have just lost their most important player for a few weeks due to the virus.

Baker Mayfield, who’s started all eight games for the Browns this season, just landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Now, he hasn’t actually tested positive for the virus, but he was in close contact with a staff member who did. Time will tell if the Browns’ $32 million man produces his own positive test. What will happen to the Browns if he does?

Baker Mayfield lands on reserve/COVID-19 list

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This Sunday was supposed to be a stress-free bye week for the Browns. But it’s been anything but stressful since the COVID-19 news came out of Cleveland.

On Sunday morning, the team announced that starting quarterback Baker Mayfield was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

“The Cleveland Browns were informed Sunday morning that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19,” the Browns said in a statement. “Contact tracing was conducted and close contacts were immediately self-isolated. When the team returns to work following the bye on Monday, it will follow the NFL/NFLPA intensive protocol. We will continue to work closely with the league and medical experts on the appropriate next steps with the health and safety of our players, coaches and staff members remaining our highest priority.”

Baker Mayfield hasn’t tested positive

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NFL players can land on the reserve/COVID-19 list for a variety of reasons. It doesn’t necessarily mean the specific player actually has the virus, and that’s exactly the case for Mayfield.

Mayfield hasn’t tested positive for the virus, according to Jake Trotter of ESPN. The issue is the Browns found through contact tracing that Mayfield had close contact with the staff member who did test positive. He will be forced to self-isolate for a few days while getting tested daily.

If he continues to test negative all week leading up to Wednesday, Mayfield will most likely be cleared to practice then. All Browns fans can do is cross their fingers that Mayfield has a strong immune system and that his antibodies are working overtime during the bye week.

They’ll just have to wait and see.

What happens to the Browns if Mayfield tests positive?

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If Mayfield contracted the virus from the staff member and he tests positive this week, it will send shockwaves through the Browns organization. Everyone who had close contact with Mayfield over the last few days will be in danger of testing positive as well.

Mayfield would miss next Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, and he would also be in danger of missing the Browns’ Week 11 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.

At 5-3 and in the thick of the AFC playoff race, the Browns can’t afford to lose their starting QB for two games. Backup QB Case Keenum would fill in for Mayfield in his absence, which can’t send a wave of confidence through the city of Cleveland.