Will Case Keenum be Browns' QB1 following Baker Mayfield COVID-19 positive test?

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield may not be having the most successful season of his career in 2021. But the former number one overall pick is still a fundamental part of the Cleveland Browns' efforts to make the playoffs.

But when Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper, and six other players tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday, fear surrounding Mayfield's status began.

That fear was warranted, as it was announced by ESPN's Adam Schefter Wednesday that Mayfield tested positive for COVID-19. The Browns are still scheduled to face the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday, but they may have to play without their quarterback.

Case Keenum is in line to start for Baker Mayfield Saturday vs. Raiders

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens
Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens

The only way Baker Mayfield can play is if he tests negative for COVID-19 two straight times between the days of Wednesday and Saturday. However, this is unlikely since he tested positive for the virus on Wednesday.

That means backup quarterback Case Keenum will start for Mayfield. Keenum has started one game this season for Mayfield and performed well.

Keenum's lone start was against the Denver Broncos in Week 7.

In that game, Keenum threw for 199 yards and completed 21 of his 33 passes. He threw a touchdown pass and didn't turn the ball over in their 17-14 victory.

Keenum is one of the most reliable backup quarterbacks in the NFL. Baker Mayfield's played injured all season, so there's a chance Keenum can perform better than Mayfield has in recent weeks.

Also Read: Case Keenum's Career: A look at the QB's journey so far.

In addition to the eight players placed on the COVID list yesterday, the list continues to grow. Head coach Kevin Stefanski also contracted the virus and won't coach his team Saturday.

Keenum will be without three starting offensive linemen, his best wide receiver, tight end and one of his best running backs.

The NFL doesn't appear likely to postpone Saturday's game, at least not yet. Stefanski was asked by a reporter whether the game should be postponed or not. He said,

The Browns are doing what every NFL team has always done. That's using the next-man-up mentality and not using injuries or illnesses as an excuse.

But with the rising number of COVID cases, the Browns roster and depth have taken a hit. The timing of this outbreak couldn't be worse, as the Browns are in the thick of a hotly contested AFC playoff race.

Also Read: How many Cleveland Browns players have tested positive for COVID-19?

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Edited by LeRon Haire
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