CLEVELAND — Baker Mayfield's disappointing 2022 season has led many to speculate that the Cleveland Browns' quarterback has played his final game with the team.
But according to their top decision-maker, the Browns remain committed to Mayfield being Cleveland's starting quarterback in 2022.
"We fully expect Baker to be our starter and bounce back," Browns general manager Andrew Berry said at his end-of-season press conference on Tuesday.
Berry's comments come two days after Cleveland's disappointing 2021 season came to an end with the Browns laying claim to an 8-9 record. One of the biggest reasons why Cleveland failed to build on last season's run to the AFC divisional round was the play of Mayfield, who struggled through an injury-plagued 2021 campaign.
Like head coach Kevin Stefanski on Monday, Berry didn't use Mayfield's injuries -- including a torn labrum in his left shoulder that will require surgery -- as an excuse. But he did admit that the Browns are looking forward to No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft getting healthy this offseason as he heads into the fifth and final year of his rookie contract.
Of course, a lot can change between now and the start of next season and there's no telling which quarterbacks might find themselves available on the market. Asked about the possibility of pursuing another signal-caller in the months ahead, Berry said that it's his job to put Cleveland in the best position possible to contend.
"My job is to assemble the best team possible and make sure that we're in a position to compete consistently for the division, to be in the playoffs and ultimately win a championship," Berry said. "That's something that we'll strive to do every year."
But when asked to clarify how doing just that might relate to the team's current commitment to Mayfield, Berry stood by his previous comments.
"I know there's a ton of speculation out there," he said. "I'm not really going to get into that. I think I've been fairly straightforward here on this."