Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield had a pretty terrific rookie year. Mayfield took over for Tyrod Taylor in Week 3, and in around 13-and-a-half games he completed 64 percent of his passes, averaged 7.7 yards per attempt, and threw for 3,725 yards, 27 touchdowns (a rookie record), and 14 interceptions. He led the Browns (THE BROWNS!) to a 6-7 record in his 13 starts, bringing them to a 7-8-1 mark for the season.
But Mayfield ultimately came up short in Rookie of the Year voting, finishing behind Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage and became the first rookie in NFL history with at least 1,300 rushing yards and at least 700 receiving yards during his debut season. Barkley was a bit boom or bust as a rookie but the totality of his numbers and the sheer volume of explosive plays he created were apparently enough to put him over the top.
Mayfield plans to use his snub to fuel himself next season and beyond.
“Yeah, I’ll use it as motivation,” Mayfield said Wednesday, per Cleveland.com. “But the more important thing is winning football games. Yeah, it’s more frustrating than anything because Saquon, that’s my guy and he’ll hold it over my head forever. But you know what, I’ll use that as motivation and I’ll be better in the long run.”
Mayfield and Barkley became close last year during the draft process, and they had a friendly bet on the outcome of the Rookie of the Year race. Because Barkley won, Mayfield now owes his pal a custom chain. “It’ll say ‘Quads’ on it,” Mayfield said, referring to Barkley’s enormous thigh muscles. “Not ‘Sa-quads’ but just ‘Quads.’ The two extra letters in there cost a little bit extra money, so we’ll stick with just ‘Quads.'”
It seems like he’s taking this pretty well. Not that he needed any additional motivation, but the idea of Mayfield using a second-place ROY finish and the devastating embarrassment of having to buy a custom chain for his friend as additional fuel for his fire has to be at least a bit scary for defensive coordinators around the NFL.