As injury after injury piles up for Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield, is he ready to play today when the Browns take on the Ravens on Sunday Night Football? Let’s take a look at the latest regarding Mayfield’s availability in Week 12, how he has performed this season, and why 2021 is crucial for the 2018 first overall pick.
Is Baker Mayfield playing in Week 12 despite mounting injuries?
It has been a tough season for Mayfield and the injury bug. He first appeared on the Browns’ injury report back in Week 3 with a left shoulder injury. It was an injury to that same shoulder that caused him to miss Week 7 — he’s been on the injury report ever since. In Week 10, a foot injury was added, followed by a knee injury in Week 11, and a groin injury in Week 12.
The good news is that the feeling has generally been optimistic the entire time over the past two weeks regarding Mayfield’s availability. He did not participate in practice this past Wednesday, but it was more to rest him than a serious concern. Mayfield was a full participant in practice on both Thursday and Friday. He carries no injury designation into the weekend and is expected to start against the Ravens.
It has been a tough 2021 season for the Cleveland QB
Fighting through injuries is always tough for any QB. Furthermore, Mayfield has struggled at times, especially in the past two games. The first nine games saw him post numbers that were fine without being spectacular, but he lacked consistency. Four times in his first eight games saw passer ratings over 100, with another two in the 90s.
However, as the injuries have piled up, the performance level has dropped. In the past two weeks, Mayfield has completed just 26 of his 50 passes (52%). During that time, he has thrown for just 249 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He is averaging just 4.98 yards per pass attempt this season.
Mayfield desperately needs a strong finish to 2021
This season and 2022 are vital for Mayfield — these are his final two years under contract with the Browns. This season is the final year of the rookie deal, with his fifth-year option in 2022. If he is to earn a big-money long-term contract, he needs to finish the year strong. Otherwise, he will have to gamble on having a strong 2022 season.
Currently, Mayfield is struggling to stand out from the crowd in 2021. His performances through the first 10 weeks have seen him essentially provide league-average value to his offense according to Pro Football Network’s Offensive Value Metric.
The injuries have not helped, but they are also not causing Mayfield to perform particularly below his career average according to OVM. Mayfield’s OVM grade of 22.4 is the third-highest of his career. As a rookie, Mayfield posted an OVM of 23.86. As a sophomore, that dropped to 21.92, subsequently topping out at 24.73 in 2020.
To put those numbers into context, Joe Burrow is currently providing the most value to his offense at the QB position this season. His OVM grade in 2021 is 30.48. In contrast, Sam Darnold is providing the least value to the position. His OVM grade this season is 16.27. This demonstrates how Mayfield has largely provided league-average value to the Browns during his career.