Baker Mayfield continues to rack up awards for his transformative rookie season with the Browns.
On Tuesday, the Pro Football Writers of America announced its members voted him Rookie of the Year.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard were named the PFWA offensive and defensive rookies of the year, respectively.
But Mayfield received the highest honor the PFWA designates for rookies.
Mayfield went 6-7 as a starter and 310-of-486 passing (63.8 percent) for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns with 14 interceptions, posted a rating of 93.7 and took 25 sacks.
Despite playing only 13½ games because veteran Tyrod Taylor started early in the 2018 season, Mayfield broke the NFL single-season rookie record for TD passes and finished sixth all time in passing yards by a rookie.
He led all the other rookie quarterbacks in completion percentage, passer rating, completions, touchdown passes and passing yards by wide margins.
His 266.1 passing yards per game is the second-highest average by a rookie with a minimum of 200 attempts since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, trailing only Colts three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck, who averaged 273.4 passing yards a game in 2012.
His passer rating of 115.7 in the red zone ranked second in the NFL last year behind only New Orleans Saints 12-time Pro Bowl selection Drew Brees (118.5) and is the second-highest red-zone rating by a rookie since 2000, trailing Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (116.1 in 2015).
Mayfield is the first Browns quarterback since Frank Ryan in 1966 to throw at least one touchdown pass in 13 consecutive starts in a season. He joined Hall of Famer Kurt Warner and Brad Johnson as the only quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era with a TD pass in each of the first 13 starts of a career. Warner had a streak of 23 from 1999-2000, Johnson 15 from 1996-97.
Seven Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week awards, which are determined by online fan voting, went to Mayfield. He’s a finalist for the season award, too.
He won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for November, AFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 16 and the local PFWA chapter’s Joe Thomas Award for player of the year.
Mayfield will find out whether he’s the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year during the “NFL Honors” awards show Feb. 2 in Atlanta.
And Mayfield wasn’t the only player drafted No. 1 overall by the Browns to be honored by the PFWA on Tuesday. Defensive end Myles Garrett was voted to the PFWA’s All-AFC team.
Former Browns interim coach and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams finalized a deal with the New York Jets to become their defensive coordinator, ESPN reported Tuesday.
Williams spent the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Browns and helped them earn a record of 5-3 during his eight games as their interim coach.
The Browns interviewed Williams and six other candidates for their full-time head coaching job and ultimately chose Freddie Kitchens, who had been promoted to offensive coordinator on Oct. 29, the same day Williams ascended to the helm and coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley were fired.
“I think Gregg is a heck of a coach,” General Manager John Dorsey said Monday during Kitchens’ introduction as head coach. “What we were looking for is the future of the organization moving forward. ... We thought Freddie was the best possible fit for this organization moving forward.”
Steve Wilks was hired to replace Williams as defensive coordinator.
More familiar faces
Chris Jones will leave his job as the general manager and head coach of the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders to become a senior defensive specialist for the Browns, a person familiar with the move confirmed. Jones was a graduate assistant coach at Alabama in 1997, when Kitchens played quarterback for the Crimson Tide.
Al Holcomb will likely reunite with Wilks in Cleveland. The Athletic Carolina reported Holcomb will interview Wednesday with the Browns to become their linebackers coach.
Holcomb served as linebackers coach for five of Wilks’ six seasons with the Carolina Panthers, including when the latter was the defensive coordinator in 2017. And Holcomb was the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals last year when Wilks was their head coach.
Former Green Bay Packers interim coach Joe Philbin interviewed for a position with the Browns this past weekend, a person familiar with the meeting confirmed. It appears to be unlikely that Philbin will join Kitchens’ staff.
Dorsey was the Packers’ director of college scouting during Philbin’s first stint in Green Bay, where he was an assistant coach from 2003-11.
On Monday, Dorsey explained he is assisting Kitchens in his search for assistant coaches. The Browns already hired James Campen as offensive line coach/associate head coach. Campen is a former Packers teammate of Dorsey who coached in Green Bay for 15 years.
“I know a lot individuals in this thing, but [Kitchens and I] do it together, and we bounce ideas off each other all the time,” Dorsey said. “I’ll make a suggestion or two, and if he likes it, he’ll act on it. That’s why we always talk.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read his Browns coverage at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.