There are few things in the NFL that hinder the development of rookie players more than missing time in training camp. This is doubly true of quarterbacks.
With this in mind the Cleveland Browns came to an agreement with both of their 2018 first round picks. Quarterback Baker Mayfield, the first overall pick signed a 4-year deal worth $32.68M. The deal is fully guaranteed and includes 21.85M signing bonus. Mayfield, an exceptionally talented college player who has divided opinion on his ability to be a pro quarterback, will be with the team from the start of camp. This should give him the best shot of learning the pro game.
Whilst Mayfield is clearly the long term future of the franchise, the immediate future is the experienced Tyrod Taylor, acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills this off season. Head coach Hue Jackson and GM John Dorsey have repeatedly stated that Taylor will be the starting quarterback to start the season. The Browns open the regular season Sept. 9 against the Steelers.
“We just took a young player who we think is going to be a tremendous player. But he needs time. He’s not ready to walk out there right now and play, and that’s OK.” Said Jackson when asked about Mayfield starting.
With this being this case it’s unlikely that Mayfield sees any first team snaps unless there’s an injury to Taylor, who himself will be learning a new offence.
Whoever is under centre for the Browns is camp will be without star receiver Josh Gordon (who is not in camp whilst he receives more treatment for his addictions) and also Ricardo Louis (who was ruled out for the year with a neck injury that hasn’t healed after surgery). With these two weapons missing the Browns have had discussions about bringing in former Cowboy Dez Bryant. Whilst signing the 29 year old Bryant makes sense the Browns they are likely to investigate numerous options.
In addition to making sure Mayfield was signed by camp the Browns signed their second first round pick, cornerback Denzel Ward. Terms of this deal were not announced by Dorsey but having both players in camp from day one is a great start for the Browns. Unlike Mayfield, I fully expect to Ward pushing for play time from the start of the year. He’s an impressive looking corner who excels in press coverage. This pick surprised many, as defensive end Bradley Chubb was still available. However, I think that it was the right pick for the Browns, who lacked impact players at corner last year.
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