On April 26, the Cleveland Browns made former Oklahoma University quarterback Baker Mayfield the No. 1 pick in the National Football League 2018 draft, and on Thursday, the 23-year-old Mayfield will see his first action on an NFL field when the Browns travel to New Jersey to open the 2018 preseason with a Week One matchup against the New York Giants.
Browns Coach Hue Jackson told Cleveland.com that Mayfield will play “quite a bit” in the Thursday night game, despite playing almost exclusively with Cleveland’s second-team offense in training camp so far.
Though Mayfield is not expected to grab the Browns’s starting job right away — or anytime soon — the Browns, who failed to win even a single game last season, inked the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner to a four-year contract worth $32.68 million in fully guaranteed cash, according to Sports Illustrated, which included a $21.85 million signing bonus, so Mayfield is not likely to sit on the bench for long in the upcoming campaign.
The Browns also traded with the Buffalo Bills to pick up eighth-year quarterback Tyrod Taylor, and traded second-year QB Deshone Kizer to the Green Bay Packers, as Packers News reported. But Taylor, though likely to play fewer downs on Thursday than Mayfield, appears to have a lock on the starting job when the Browns open the season on September looking to win only their second game since December 13 of 2015, according to the Pro Football Reference database.
“The better for the long-term is obvious, it’s Baker. But we signed Tyrod for a reason too, to come in and be our starter,” Jackson said recently, according to the USA Today sports site For The Win.
For the Giants, a backup quarterback will also take the center of attention, as 23-year-old Davis Webb is expected to see a large segment of the available playing time, SB Nation reports, as 37-year-old two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning has been rumored to be considering retirement after the 2018 season.
But the Giants opted to bypass drafting a quarterback despite owning the second overall pick in the 2018 draft, apparently seeing the string-armed Webb as Manning’s heir apparent. In fact, according to a report by the New York Post, Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo had slated Webb in to start the final three games of what turned out to be a disastrous 3-13 season last year.
But then McAdoo was suddenly fired and Manning was reinstated as the Giants’ starter, putting Webb’s debit as an NFL starter on hold. The Giants selected Webb in the third round of the 2017 draft, out of the University of California.