A torn labrum and shoulder fracture couldn't keep Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield out of the starting lineup for long. Mayfield will start in Week 8 after he was medically cleared, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Friday.
Mayfield originally sustained the injury to his non-throwing shoulder in Week 2, but aggravated it after landing awkwardly on his shoulder in Week 6. Mayfield intended to play through the injury, but couldn't get cleared in time to start the team's game in Week 7. Case Keenum got the start in that contest, a 17-14 win for the Browns.
After practicing just once ahead of Week 7, Mayfield was able to put in limited practice ahead of Week 8. Mayfield was reportedly medically cleared to play Thursday night and was spotted throwing passes to receivers at practice Friday.
Mayfield has thrown six touchdowns against three interceptions in six games. Mayfield's 67.1 completion percentage and 8.5 yards gained per pass are career highs.
Mayfield, who is playing for a massive contract extension, will look to continue putting up solid numbers when the team takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8.
Baker Mayfield seeking massive extension with Browns
The Browns have a difficult decision to make with Mayfield, who is currently in the fourth year of his five-year rookie deal. There's pressure on the Browns to hand Mayfield an extension now. If the team waits and allows Mayfield to play through his fifth season, he could opt to test free agency and sign with another team.
The shoulder injury complicates that decision. Even if Mayfield returns and plays well, an injury is never good for contract negotiations. The best case for both sides would be Mayfield returning in Week 8, proving he can still play at full strength and staying healthy the rest of the way.
Anything less than that could cost Mayfield a fair amount of money as free agency quickly approaches.