Look for Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield to do his best to truly stick it to the Cleveland Browns in Week 1.
Hand-picked out of Oklahoma to be the savior of the woebegone AFC North franchise in 2018, Mayfield had an up-and-down, four-year run in Cleveland. His rookie year was a strong one. After a sophomore slump, he helped guide the Browns to the playoffs for the first time since 2002 in 2020, securing their first playoff win since Bill Belichick was their former head coach back in 1994.
However, it hit the fan for him and Cleveland in year four together. General manager Andrew Berry was out on Mayfield midway through last year. After an injury-riddled campaign, Mayfield was traded to Carolina where he beat out fellow draft classmate Sam Darnold for the Panthers starting job almost immediately. Clearly, Mayfield wants to make the Browns regret ever giving up on him.
“I’m going to f**k them up,” said Mayfield ahead of Week 1’s start at home vs. the visiting Browns.
Baker Mayfield is absolutely ready to take on the Cleveland Browns in Week 1
It doesn’t matter if you are a Panthers fan, a fan of a rival NFC South team, or any NFL team not named Cleveland for that matter, we are pulling for Mayfield to clean the Browns’ clock in Week 1. His attitude is not for everybody, but he did not deserve to be humiliated like he was when Browns owner Jimmy Haslam traded for Deshaun Watson and then gave him a fully-guaranteed contract.
Mayfield is a lot of things, but he is not a bad dude. You can’t say the same thing about the new Browns starting quarterback, who will be suspended for the first 11 games of the 2022 NFL season for rampant sexual misconduct. It will be journeyman Jacoby Brissett getting the start for Cleveland, as the Browns will try to hold it together before persona non grata makes his return.
When you really think about it, what an opportunity for Mayfield! Even if his quote about the Browns comes back to bite him in the ass, he has a real shot to be the long-term solution at quarterback in Charlotte. If he plays well, he and head coach Matt Rhule could keep on working together into 2023. Even if Rhule gets the ax, Mayfield can look for another job somewhere else.
For a game that would have had no buzz otherwise, Mayfield has made this game a must-watch.