Welcome to the first installment of the 2020 Cleveland Browns Positional Breakdown series. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be breaking down each positional group within the organization. This series is just to give a perspective on the potential players that will be on the 2020 Cleveland Browns as a whole. In this article, I’ll be starting off by taking a look at the Quarterbacks that the Browns could be taking into the 2020 season. With that being said, let’s begin:
Baker Mayfield (Signed until 2021, 5th-year option in 2022, Free Agent in 2023)
2020 Contract: $9M
You really can’t start off a positional breakdown without talking first about QB1. This means that we will be starting off with Baker Mayfield who’s been the starting quarterback since September 30th, 2018 against at the time Oakland Raiders.
The 2019 season would be considered a regression for Mayfield as he struggled to keep up with his pace from his rookie season back in 2018. Last year, Mayfield threw for 3,827 yards with 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. Compared to his rookie numbers where he broke the single-season rookie touchdown record (27) one could make the case for a sophomore slump.
But, you cannot put all the blame on Mayfield. It is well known the former head coach Freddie Kitchens had too much on his plate and the offense had no identity throughout the season. Bad playcalling, horrible time management, losing the locker room, plus poor offensive line help didn’t give Mayfield the tools to build off his rookie season.
Luckily, with new head coach Kevin Stefanski at the helm, you can see Mayfield have a bounce-back season under the new wide outside zone scheme that Stefanski used in Minnesota to lead the Vikings to the playoffs in 2019. Furthermore, with free agent additions in right tackle Jack Conklin from Tennessee, tight end Austin Hooper from Atlanta, plus the addition to left tackle in Jendrick Wills Jr and tight end Harrison Bryant in the draft, Mayfield has the line protection and more weapons to help him this year.
Expect Mayfield to build on this new upgrade on the offense that could see the Browns making the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and have a winning record for the first time since 2007.
Case Keenum (Signed until 2022 with an opt-out in 2022, Free Agent in 2023)
2020 Contract: $2.833M
The Browns needed a backup quarterback who knew the system that Kevin Stefanski was bringing in, and they did just that with the signing of Case Keenum.
Keenum did spend some time with Stefanski in Minnesota during the 2017 season where he was 11-3 as a starter. He threw for 3,547 yards with 22 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Adding Keenum to the quarterback room would help Mayfield learn the wide outside zone scheme since he has ran under this scheme as mentioned before. Keenum has come out and said that he will put in 100% work while helping Mayfield but he won’t lay down either.
Keenum wasn’t a slouch last season has he did have 10 starts in the 2019 season, where he threw for 1,707 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. He did lose the starting job to the Redskins’ 2019 1st round pick (Dwayne Haskins) but he still was a solid quarterback on a dismal Redskins team. Given the chance to get back with Stefanski could be the help Mayfield needs when learning this new offense going into the 2020 season.
Garrett Gilbert (Signed until 2020, RFA in 2021
2020 Contract: $837K
As of this post, Garrett Gilbert will most likely be the third quarterback on the depth chart for the Browns going into the 2020 season. Last year Gilbert did appear in five games where he went 0 for 3 with zero passing yards. Since he’s been in the league he’s laying in six games with 40 total passing yards. The former SMU quarterback was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the sixth round in 2014. He does have a Super Bowl ring though as being a member of the New England Patriots back in 2015. Don’t expect much of Gilbert to see playing time since the quarterback room has both Mayfield and Keenum being 1, and 2 on the chart.
When it comes to the quarterback room for the Cleveland Browns; they should be in good hands with Baker Mayfield being QB1 along with Case Keenum being a solid backup. Keenum will help guide Mayfield into understanding the playbook while Mayfield looks to bounce back from an underwhelming 2019 season. Expect Mayfield to utilize the upgraded offensive line along with the addition of tight end with Austin Hooper. David Njoku will be healthy as well so that should help Mayfield with having two massive targets in the red zone. Overall, keep an eye on Mayfield as he hopes to lead the Browns to the playoffs in 2020.
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- Why Denzel Ward will be a Top Five cornerback in 2020 - June 29, 2020