Tuesday update: Ian Rapoport reported that Kevin Stefanski confirmed that Baker Mayfield will miss Week 18 and elect to have shoulder surgery as soon as possible, ending his 2021 season. The Bengals could be in a position to clinch the AFC’s No. 1 seed this week, so the absence of Baker Mayfield could have some repercussions for the 2022 NFL playoffs. The Bengals can clinch the No. 1 seed in two ways: A) a Bengals win and losses from the Titans, Chiefs and Patriots, or B) Bengals and Bills wins and Titans and Chiefs losses.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has been dealing with a shoulder injury for much of the season and announced he will be undergoing surgery on it this offseason. The quarterback announced the news following the team’s Monday Night Football loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Mayfield did not announce specifically when the surgery would happen, but did suggest he might sit out the team’s Week 18 finale vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. The Browns were eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday prior to their Week 17 game.
If Mayfield sits, Case Keenum would likely get the start, although the team could choose to get Kyle Lauletta some playing time as well in an otherwise meaningless game. They face a Bengals team that will not know until Saturday night how much they have to play for on Sunday. If the Chiefs lose to the Broncos, the Bengals still have a path to the No. 1 overall seed. If the Chiefs beat the Broncos, the Bengals could claim anywhere from the No. 2 to the No. 4 seed. The second seed offers two straight guaranteed home games if they advance in the playoffs, so there is some value to trying for that.
The Bengals have given up the 14th fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.