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Baker Mayfield spent four seasons with the Cleveland Browns before things unraveled and he was traded to the Carolina Panthers ahead of the 2022 season.
Speaking Friday on the Pat McAfee Show, Mayfield said he’s still confused about how his time with the Browns ended.
“I think I’m still confused too,” Mayfield said. “I think towards the end there, I played 2021 with a pretty much torn apart shoulder and I was excited to get surgery, get healthy and get another shot to try and get back to that 2020 form but that wasn’t their plan and I’m a firm believer everything happens for a reason.”
Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow
We were very confused how your time ended with the Browns..<br><br>”I think I’m still confused too 😂😂<br><br>I was excited to get surgery, get healthy & get back to my 2020 form but that wasn’t their plan..<br><br>I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason” <a href=”https://twitter.com/bakermayfield?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@bakermayfield</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/PMSLive?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#PMSLive</a> <a href=”https://t.co/hKzhMG3IWa”>pic.twitter.com/hKzhMG3IWa</a>
The Browns selected Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Oklahoma, and he never quite lived up to his draft status in Cleveland.
The 28-year-old was never able to keep the same level of consistency across his four seasons with the Browns. He finished second in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting in 2018, but in 2019 he only threw one more touchdown (22) than he did interceptions (21).
Mayfield put together the best season of his career in 2020, completing 62.8 percent of his passes for 3,563 yards and 26 touchdowns against eight interceptions, leading the Browns to the postseason for the first time since the 2002 campaign.
However, Mayfield struggled again in 2021, though he did play most of the season with a shoulder injury. He completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,010 yards and 17 touchdowns against 13 interceptions in 14 games.
The Browns finished third in the AFC North with an 8-9 record and missed the playoffs again.
Despite playing through a shoulder injury, the 2021 campaign was the last straw for Mayfield in Cleveland. The Browns acquired Deshaun Watson in a trade with the Houston Texans in March 2022 and Mayfield was dealt to the Carolina Panthers that July.
Mayfield appeared in just six games for the Panthers before being released and spending the remainder of the 2022 campaign with the Los Angeles Rams. He described his 2022 season as a “rollercoaster” during his appearance on the Pat McAfee Show.
“Now, the rollercoaster I went on after that was a little bit nuts for me,” Mayfield said. “It gave me good perspective. Being in Carolina, trying to be a good mentor to a couple guys, and just a different perspective on it. Take a step back, be a good leader, and then also at the same time then going to LA, looking at each other, we had a five-game season, let’s make the most of it and pad the resume.”
Mayfield signed a one-year deal with the Bucs ahead of the 2023 campaign and is now on pace to have one of his best seasons since 2020. He has led the Buccaneers to a 3-1 record while completing 69.6 percent of his passes for 882 yards and seven touchdowns against two interceptions.
Mayfield will be aiming to help the Bucs improve to 4-1 when they return from their bye week on Oct. 15 against the Detroit Lions.