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Former NFL GM says Browns' Baker Mayfield is a system quarterback

Former New York Jets and Miami Dolphins executive Mike Tannenbaum said that Baker Mayfield is a 'replaceable' member of the Cleveland Browns' roster.

CLEVELAND — According to NFL.com, the Cleveland Browns enter the 2021 season with the most complete roster in the league. But when it comes to arguably the most important player on the Browns' roster, quarterback Baker Mayfield, one former league executive isn't buying the hype.

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Appearing on ESPN's "Get Up" on Tuesday, former New York Jets general manager and Miami Dolphins vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum was asked about Cleveland's status as the league's most complete roster. In answering, Tannenbaum expressed skepticism about the Browns' ability to live up to the hype, pointing to Mayfield as the primary reason why.

"When you look at [Cleveland head coach] Kevin Stefanski's track record, they won in Minnesota with Case Keenum. They won with Kirk Cousins," said Tannenbaum, who served as a player personnel assistant for the Browns in 1995. "Baker Mayfield is very much a replaceable part. He's had one productive season out of three. That is not greatness at the quarterback position. So at best, he is the fifth-best QB in the AFC."

Tannenbaum's assessment of Mayfield falls in line with a column he wrote last week for The33rdTeam.com, in which he argued that Cleveland shouldn't be in a rush to sign the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft to a contract extension.

"When you’re building a team, you’re constantly asking yourself: Is this player a replaceable part or not? And Mayfield may be surprisingly more replaceable than anticipated considering Stefanski’s success with other quarterbacks in Minnesota," Tannenbaum wrote.

"Before giving Mayfield an extension, I would continue to assure that the offensive line is fortified and under contract. That needs to be a strength for the Browns to put him in an optimal position for success. I would also try to prioritize re-signing key pieces like Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb to keep the team’s core pieces together while biding time on a Mayfield extension."

While Tannenbaum also admitted that Mayfield has shown "flashes of excellence" in the first three years of his NFL career, he also stated that he doesn't believe the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner is a quarterback capable of carrying an offense on his own.

As for where the Browns stand on signing Mayfield -- who is under contract through the next two seasons in Cleveland -- to a potential extension this offseason, general manager Andrew Berry has made a point of not negotiating in public. Meanwhile, Mayfield himself stated earlier this month that he's in no rush to sign a new deal, opting instead to focus on living up to this season's apparently lofty expectations.

"I'm in no rush because I'm just trying to win games. Like I said, it will handle itself," Mayfield said at the Browns' mandatory minicamp. "I don't try to feed too much into that because that's like wasting my time and energy and thought process on stuff that I'm not in control of right now so I'm going to handle what I can control."