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The Cleveland Browns have reportedly made a decision about quarterback Baker Mayfield. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, the Browns plan to keep him as their starting QB for the 2022 season.
This seems like a sensible decision for both parties, but it wasn't a sure thing. Just one year after making the playoffs for the first time since 2002, the Browns are on the outside looking in again, coming into the final week with a 7-9 record. They were eliminated from the playoffs before they even played their Week 17 game, a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It wasn't the season anyone wanted, and it was especially punishing for Mayfield. He tore the labrum in his non-throwing shoulder in Week 2 and has been playing through that — as well as several other injuries — ever since. He ended up missing three games over the course of the season, and was placed on injured reserve last week ahead of his shoulder surgery, which will reportedly take place on Jan. 19.
Between Mayfield's injuries, the so-so on-field product, and continuing "communication issues" on the team, the Browns could have leaned into making a change. And there was speculation that Mayfield was also ready to move on. Instead, it sounds like both sides are ready to give their union one more try as Mayfield plays out the final year of his rookie contract.
Since Mayfield is on injured reserve, backup Case Keenum will be the starting QB for the Browns' season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals.