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Report: Cleveland Browns intend to move forward with Baker Mayfield in 2022

According to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the Cleveland Browns plan to keep Baker Mayfield as their quarterback in 2022.

CLEVELAND — While Baker Mayfield won't play in the Cleveland Browns' 2021 regular-season finale on Sunday, his future with the team has been the subject of speculation for the better part of the past week.

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But according to a new report from Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the Browns intend to move forward with Mayfield as their starting quarterback in 2022.

"The Browns will head into the offseason with plans to retain Baker Mayfield as their quarterback for 2022, sources say," the report reads. "Plenty of scenarios have been rumored, including Mayfield wanting to move on and the Browns wanting to move on. Barring a dramatic shift, it doesn't appear either development is on the horizon."

Rapoport and Pelissero's report comes just six days after Mayfield publicly questioned Cleveland's gameplan and lack of adjustments in its 26-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. The fourth-year signal-caller also admitted that he felt as though he hadn't been put in the best positions at times during the 2021 campaign.

"When it comes to what we've had to deal with all season, there's been a lot of ups and downs. Do I believe I could play better? Absolutely. Do I believe there's positions that we as an offense could have been put in that could have been better? Absolutely," Mayfield said. "There's so many critiques throughout the year. If there wasn't, we wouldn't be sitting here at 7-9. So it is what it is."

Later in the week, Mayfield criticized a report from Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot that detailed the quarterback's rift with head coach Kevin Stefanski and stated that the Oklahoma product could ask for a trade if he doesn't receive assurances about changes to the team's offense. Asked about his relationship with Mayfield this week, Stefanski stated that it's the same as it was last season.

“I would say it is no different," Stefanski said. "A good relationship.”

Rapoport and Pelissero's report, however, also indicated that Mayfield and Stefanski have had communication issues and frustration throughout the season, in which Cleveland has amassed a disappointing 7-9 record. According to the report, Mayfield and Stefanski had a conversation as a part of the quarterback's exit interview on Friday and the two are on the same page.

The No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, Mayfield will sit out Sunday's game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals as he prepares to undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, which has hindered him throughout the 2021 season. Should he return to the Browns in 2022, he would likely do so on the final deal of his five-year rookie contract.