Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has healed up from some of his many injuries during their bye week, but sources said he will have to wear a harness for injuries to his left shoulder for the remainder of the season and will require a surgical procedure on it after the year.
Mayfield has been battling heel, knee and other shoulder issues as well, which have limited his ability to elude defenders and, at times, push the ball down the field as he might normally do. The additional rest has helped the discomfort in his knee and heel subside, sources said, and the fracture in his shoulder area is no longer a primary concern. But the issues with his left shoulder, which was dislocated originally early in the season and has been aggravated on big hits throughout the season, will not be fully alleviated until surgeons examine him this offseason.
There are a range of potential outcomes, and recovery times, based on the exact damage done to the labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, depending on the extend of the tear. Mayfield has long been resigned to the fact that he will require a harness to get through this season -- which is obviously less than ideal -- but coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry have continued to voice their full support for him starting, believing he gives the Browns their best chance to reach the postseason over veteran backup Case Keenum.
Mayfield is completing his fourth season with the Browns since being selected first-overall, but the sides have been unable, to this point, to come to terms on a contract extension. Mayfield's injuries, and having to play under adverse medical conditions, naturally complicate the matter some, with Cleveland holding a fifth-year option on him for 2022. The Browns executed that option in April, which is worth roughly $19M next season.
Mayfield played the best football of his career in helping lead the Browns to the playoffs in the second half of the 2021 season, but he has just 11 touchdown passes and six interceptions this season through 11 games. The Browns face a difficult stretch of games coming off this bye, including three critical divisional games beginning with the Ravens coming to Cleveland on Sunday.