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The rise of Mac Jones and fall of Baker Mayfield | You Pod to Win the Game

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  • Cleveland Browns
    Cleveland Browns
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • New England Patriots
    New England Patriots
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Mac Jones
    Mac Jones
    American football player

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Frank Schwab discuss the tremendous rookie performance that Mac Jones is producing for the Patriots. Should Jones have been the number two overall pick in the draft? Meanwhile, Baker Mayfield’s future in Cleveland is more than a little cloudy. What will the Browns do moving forward at quarterback. Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

[BAT HITS BALL, CROWD CHEERS]

CHARLES ROBINSON: The New England Patriots at home, I mean, they just beasted the Cleveland Browns 45 to 7. I mean, look, New England now is 6 and 4. They're cooking. They're cooking.

And Mac Jones, this was the game where I'm like, OK, probably worthy. We're going to have this conversation about like, oh, is he worthy of the number two pick. Probably, yeah, he probably was. Looking at it now, looking at where he's really, really gotten to the point where his confidence is flying. And some of the balls he threw, he threw some dimes, looked fantastic.

And you could tell afterward, Belichick-- I don't know if you saw his press conference. He was really happy. You can see he's sort of like, OK, OK. Yeah, you can tell that he feels like they've really got something working here.

Conversely, what I wrote tonight was about Baker and the Browns. And although the defense was atrocious-- and honestly, the Browns have got problems all over the place right now. This thing with Baker, this knee injury, and just sort of the compilation of everything that's sort of going on, injuries, ineffectiveness, inconsistencies, he's up, he's down. I kind of compared it to Marcus Mariota back in 2018 when the Titans were going into this fifth-year option season.

And they were like, we really want it to work with this guy. We really want him to be the guy. We really want to do an extension with this guy. But heading into that fifth year, they're like, but we're going to make sure we got an insurance policy. We're going to open our minds to the fact that we might have to go out and get somebody.

They went and got Ryan Tannehill. And that was what ultimately, I think, was a huge cornerstone, a huge stepping stone to bringing some consistency in terms of winning to that franchise was opening up the thought process of, OK, let's leave all the tools on the table and figure out exactly what we have to work with here.

I think the Browns are, unless something changes dramatically with Baker the remainder of the season-- and I think he'd really have to light it up. I think the Browns got to go into this offseason and go, we have to look at all options. We have to look at other veteran quarterbacks, maybe starter-caliber players.

If a Russell Wilson is going to be available, if Deshaun Watson's situation clears up, if Aaron Rodgers, if we even think that that's an avenue we want to go, I just think that it's really to that point where we're moving into an area for Baker Mayfield where there's going to be some competition, I feel like, next year. And if it's not competition, there's just going to be a replacement.

FRANK SCHWAB: Which quarterback would you rather have? Would it be Mac Jones or Baker Mayfield?

CHARLES ROBINSON: I don't think there's any question it would be Mac Jones. I mean, Baker--

FRANK SCHWAB: Right. And that's where the Browns are right now.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Well, to be fair-- and I want to be fair about this because it's not like-- Baker not been completely atrocious, he hasn't. That said, what I watch from Mac Jones now that excites me about him-- and I'm a little more nervous about Baker-- he appears to have the ability to lift everybody around him. Because if you go back--

And let's just take this week's game for example. Go back and look at who Mac Jones is working with, OK? I'm sorry, but there's not world-beaters around him. There's not. There's some good, nice pieces, Hunter Henry. There's some talented pieces. But there's not like-- there's--

OK, like, is Jarvis Landry at his peak anymore? No. He's better than any receiver, I think, that the New England Patriots probably have right now. No offense to Jakobi Meyers. But I think right now, you're seeing Mac Jones do more with less and raise guys.

And with Baker, it definitely feels like there's an element there of, he's really good when the running backs are healthy and the offensive line is healthy and all the pieces around him, everybody is healthy, and Baker is healthy. And then boom, he's clicking. He's doing everything he's got to do, which is great.

But football, especially in the NFL, is not an optimal performance sport. It's just not. You're never performing at your absolute optimal peak. And if that's the quarterback you're choosing, that's fine, but you better make sure you somehow magically have an ability to keep all the pieces around him perfect moving forward.

I just don't see that. That's definitely not a $40 million contract. And that's what weighs on this is you've got to make a decision about the extension there. And he absolutely is not one of those mega-contract guys right now.

FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah. And that's the thing. I mean, people talk about this in such weird terms all the time of, well, I would just give him $20 million a year. Well, that's not how it works. I don't go to the grocery store and say, oh, bananas are $1.19 a pound today? No, I'm going to give you $0.60. That ain't how it works.

This is the price for Baker Mayfield. Are you going to pay it, or are you not? And I can't imagine them paying it. I just don't know. It's just so hard to build.

Like you said when you talked about like everything needs to be right around him and everything, well, that means he's Kirk Cousins.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Right.

FRANK SCHWAB: And nothing against Kirk Cousins. Kirk Cousins, I think, is actually probably a little underrated. I think he's a little bit better than people think. But if you pay Kirk Cousins what the Vikings are paying Kirk Cousins, you ain't going to win much. And if you pay Baker Mayfield that type of elite money, the $35, $40 million, you ain't going to win much.