With the dust settling on Baker Mayfield’s trade from the Browns to the Panthers, battle lines are being drawn.
Some fans are going with team loyalty, sending good luck or good riddances to the former Sooner quarterback.
But others aren’t forgetting Mayfield so easily, especially over Cleveland’s callous decision to trade for Deshaun Watson.
One fan is not only disturbed by the Browns’ direction but is keeping the feelings warm about Mayfield:
“You take it back to when Baker came in on that Thursday night against the Jets. You could feel it and you could see it, he gave us hope and he brought us from being a joke. Regardless of what anybody thinks about him, he brought us from being a joke to being respectable and to having hope year in and year out where we knew we could go to the Super Bowl. For me personally, and I know a lot of people probably don’t agree and probably will hate me for it, but I’m go Baker all the way. Go, Baker.”
Just like two former lovers fresh off a breakup, no fanbase is bound to entirely love their ex.
But what exactly is Mayfield’s legacy in Cleveland?
Brat Guy or That Guy
According to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, things had soured in Cleveland between Mayfield and head coach Kevin Stefanski.
The staff apparently viewed Mayfield as “immature” and “childish” in the locker room.
And it’s not hard to see that version of Mayfield.
He was brash, boisterous, and boneheaded at times.
And look, we can discuss the merits of replacing a “childish” and “immature” quarterback with an alleged sexual predator another time.
“If anybody's going to turn that franchise around, it'd be me”
-Baker Mayfield, 2018
— angrybrownsfans (@angrybrownsfans) July 6, 2022
But when the team was winning, no one had a problem with Mayfield’s swaggering play.
In fact, it was precisely his attitude, that rough-and-tumble, chip-on-my-shoulder approach to football that made him a perfect fit in Cleveland.
Only when the losses started piling up and Mayfield clearly needed to shut it down did things begin spiraling.
Hero or Zero
Regardless of Mayfield’s attitude, he leaves Cleveland the post-1999 franchise leader in several categories.
He has the most passing yards, touchdowns, and wins as a quarterback in this new Browns era.
Mayfield also set the record for most wins in FirstEnergy Stadium, a record previously held by Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger spent his entire 18-season career playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Need an even clearer image of Cleveland’s mediocrity before Mayfield arrived?
The last Brown inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was Mac Speedie in 2020.
The last time Speedie wore a Browns uniform, however, Harry S. Truman was president, the Korean War was about to start, and Alaska and Hawaii were still nearly a decade away from statehood.
There hasn’t been a single post-1999 player enshrined in the Hall.
DJ Moore is the best WR Baker Mayfield will have ever played with 😴
— 𓃵 (@Goaty_Szn) July 9, 2022
And no, I don’t think Baker will break that record.
But he gave fans something more than wins, touchdowns, and a budding relevance outside the draft.
Mayfield gave fans a reason to hope.