To the surprise of no one, the Cleveland Browns have officially named Baker Mayfield their starting quarterback.
Mayfield came in to replace an injured Tyrod Taylor last Thursday with the Browns trailing the New York Jets 14-0 and delivered a thrilling comeback in his regular-season NFL debut. The Browns won, 21-17 for their first victory in 635 calendar days.
The Browns head on the road to face the 0-3 Oakland Raiders in Week 4 for Mayfield's first NFL start.
“He’s earned it by the way he’s played,” Browns head coach Hue Jackson said.
Jackson waited to make the move official until he had a chance to talk to his quarterbacks. The Browns made Taylor the starter from the day he joined the team — and that remained the case even after Mayfield was chosen first overall in the draft. Jackson also admitted that Mayfield's ascension happened faster than he had anticipated.
Taylor, who left the Week 3 game after taking a hard hit from the Jets' Avery Williamson, remains in the concussion protocol. The Browns plan to make Taylor, whom the team acquired by trade in March, the backup whenever he's cleared. They also have Drew Stanton as the third QB on the roster.
Mayfield threw for 201 yards on 17-of-23 passing against the Jets with at least three drops by receivers. He also caught a two-point conversion pass from Jarvis Landry that helped turn the momentum of the game. Taylor left the win late in the second quarter after completing only 4-of-14 passes. He will be a free agent at season's end.
“Baker understands there’s still a lot of work to do,” Jackson said. “I think he can handle that. He’s demonstrated that.”