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Everything Cleveland Browns GM Andrew Berry said about Baker Mayfield on Tuesday: Transcript

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, general manager Andrew Berry discussed Baker Mayfield's future with the team.

CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry held his end-of-season press conference on Tuesday. And as one might imagine, Baker Mayfield was one of the primary topics of conversation.

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Following Mayfield's disappointing, injury-plagued 2021 season, many have begun to speculate that the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft has already played his final game with the team. During his press conference on Tuesday, Berry said that the Browns expect Mayfield to return as the team's starting quarterback and discussed how Cleveland plans to proceed with its quarterback position moving forward.

What follows is everything that Berry said about Mayfield during Tuesday's press conference, courtesy of a transcript provided by the Cleveland Browns Media Relations Department:

On if QB Baker Mayfield is expected to be the Browns’ starting QB in 2022:

“We fully expect Baker to be our starter and bounce back. I think Kevin mentioned this yesterday so yes.”

On his conversation with Mayfield in exit interviews about areas to improve in 2022, in addition to recovering from injury:

“It is a good question. Respectfully, any kind of one-on-one meeting that I would have with a player, that would remain between the player and myself. Generally speaking, we are looking forward to Baker obviously getting healthy in the offseason and then putting good work into the spring and with his coaches for having the type of season we know he can have moving forward.”

On the decision to play Mayfield while battling through injury:

“Kevin did mention this yesterday and I talked about this a little bit at the bye, medically cleared, the player feels good and can perform everything that is asked of him and required of him in practice. Baker was our starting quarterback. He was going to play if he was ready to go. I do not think it is any more complicated than that.”

On if in retrospect Mayfield’s playing time should have been handled differently:

“I think probably any season where you do not reach your goals, you look back and examine everything. We felt good about the information that we had throughout the year and on hand. I think the reality of it is we all wish that we and everybody across the team were able to perform better and allow us to reach the playoffs this year.”

On evaluating the struggles Mayfield had this season and confidence that Mayfield will be able to bounce back in 2022:

“I think it is easy to forget this point of year that what we have seen with Baker over the past several years, obviously he had his most productive season in this offense under Kevin as early as last year. We have been with Baker for a long period of time at this point. We know his work ethic, we know his drive and we have seen him as a talented passer in this league. We are looking forward to him getting healthy and continuing to make improvements. We expect him to bounce back next year.”

On if the Browns feel a need to bring in another QB to push Mayfield:

“I have mentioned this before in terms of how we look at the offseason, we do not go into it and say, ‘Hey, we are just going to target certain positions.’ We scout and look at player availability as if we have an expansion team so the way we go about adding competition or improving the talent base and the roster is largely, maybe not wholly, but largely independent of who is currently on the team.”

On if it is his job to evaluate every opportunity to potentially upgrade the QB position no matter what others may feel about the situation and if there is risk associated with that:

“Probably the simple answer to the question is my job is to assemble the best team possible and make sure that we are in the position to compete consistently for the division, to be in the playoffs and ultimately win a championship. That is something that we will strive to do every year.”

On if the expectation is to move forward with Mayfield’s fifth-year option without a contract extension this offseason and if the relationship between Stefanski, Mayfield and him can continue to work moving forward:

“I probably address this a little bit earlier. Like I said, we fully expect Baker to bounce back. In terms of any conversations that would happen with me and Baker or Kevin and Baker, really those will stay there. I do not have any concerns in terms of relationship or anything along those lines. I think it is pretty natural to have discussions around scheme as you go into any offseason. Those discussions have happened and will continue to happen with the appropriate parties.”

On if the Browns are comfortable playing Mayfield in 2022 without a new contract:

“We have a lot of guys who will have gone into their final [contract] year or something along those lines. That is not something that really goes into the calculus for us. Every year, you will have guys on expiring deals.”

On if it is uncomfortable having a ‘lame duck’ QB entering 2022:

“I do not know that I would categorize it that way. Again, you have a number of players across positions that are entering the final years of their deals. That is not something that is really top of mind for me.”

On Mayfield entering a contract year and if it is fair to characterize it as a ‘prove it’ year for Mayfield:

“I think the reality of it is any of us who work in the NFL, every year is a prove-it year. To the contract question in general, I think you guys probably know me well enough that I kind of march to the beat of my own drum in terms of whatever contract precedents are out there so we will deal with each situation on an individual basis.”

On Mayfield’s performance during the final month of the 2021 season, given he said at the bye week that he expected Mayfield’s best play during that timeframe:

“In fairness, he misses two games, plays one game well, one game probably not so well and then probably the third game that he played gets COVID, out two weeks and is there the day of the game. Certainly, those five games did not go the way that we hoped or anticipated, but we expect him to bounce back.”

On Mayfield’s strengths as a leader and fit with the Browns:

“Baker, he is team oriented. He is a competitor. He is super tough. He truly wants what is best for the team and really to take the steps that he needs to improve to become the quarterback that we know that he can become. Guys who are self-motivated, they are team oriented and they are tough, you certainly like that profile across any position.”

On if the Browns would not be interested this offseason in pursuing other opportunities at QB, given Mayfield is on the roster:

“I know there is a ton of speculation out there. I am not really going to get into that. I think I have been fairly straightforward here on this.”