ProFootballDoc: Toughness in Football Doesn’t Always Pay Off, See Baker Mayfield Vs. Derek Carr

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Baker Mayfield feels disrespected by the Browns and doesn’t know where he will play this season. Meanwhile, Derek Carr gets a three-year, $121.5 million extension.

In the macho world of the NFL, toughness and playing through injuries is applauded. However, that doesn’t always translate to rewards. In the end, production and results are all that matter.

Mayfield played through multiple shoulder dislocations this season and even suffered a humerus fracture.

Because Mayfield’s production wasn’t there, the Browns acquired Deshaun Watson and Baker is in limbo and left to complain about his four different head coaches in four years.

Today in Las Vegas, with a new head coach and GM, Carr gets to join the $40+ million per year club based on his production.

There were no worries about Carr’s toughness, even though many in the league and some on his own team at the time were quietly critical of this play from years ago. A mistimed snap on 2nd and 1 dislocated Carr’s right pinky finger. No question that causes significant pain, but the Raiders QB made no attempt to recover the ball or to alert his teammates that there was a fumble. Instead, he turned his back and headed off the field.

Cam Newton also received considerable criticism for not attempting to jump on a fumble in the Super Bowl several years ago, but his team, the Carolina Panthers, ultimately lost. By contrast, Carr’s criticism is rather muted because he returned to that game and led the Raiders to victory.

My point is not to be critical of anyone, but to note that production and results are rewarded in the NFL, not toughness. Congrats to Carr, and I hope Mayfield lands on his feet somewhere good.

Written by Dr. David Chao

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.


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  1. I’m a common sense man, never get too up or down about anything involving professional athletes, but I think BM is in fact getting the shit-end-of-the-stick in Cleveland. I have no doubt he’ll find his footing with a less idiotic city/franchise. I have no doubt that the Texan QB that likes women shoving fingers up his ass will turn out to be a bust. Fuck the Browns.

    • I am not a BM fan, but I agree on how the Brown are wrong in this. The Browns have not treated him fairly at all in all this. The guy had them 11-5 in 2020, was a play away from getting them to the AFC title game, but after one season where he plays through pretty serious injury they turn on him? That’s pretty pathetic. That front office is notoriously horrific. They couldn’t help but screw up a good thing.

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