UPDATE: Now, the Raiders will face quarterback Nick Mullens on Saturday with both Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum on the COVID-19 list. Mullens was just promoted from the practice squad. The Browns are absolutely depleted. Mullens’ career highlight was a blow-out win over the Raiders in prime time three years ago. He gets another chance in primetime Saturday.
Now Browns’ QB Case Keenum has tested positive for COVID, leaving QB Nick Mullens in line to start Saturday vs. the Raiders, sources tell @ByKimberleyA, @FieldYates and me. Baker Mayfield already has tested positive and is on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 16, 2021
And there’s more: Browns also have four other defensive players that tested positive for COVID-19 today, bringing the total of Cleveland players with it this week to 20, per @ByKimberleyA and me. https://t.co/taJ2mNhkqa— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 16, 2021
I’m told personnel were informed that #Browns player positives are Case Keenum, Grant Delpit, AJ Green, Ronnie Harrison & Jacob Phillips, at this time, per league source.— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) December 16, 2021
The Cleveland Browns were already dealing with a major coronavirus problem when they awakened on Wednesday morning. Then, they realized they have a full-blown crisis on their hands.
After placing eight players on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday, they added six more (five on the 53-man roster), including quarterback Baker Mayfield.
On the COVID list:— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 15, 2021
CB Troy Hill
S John Johnson III
QB Baker Mayfield
DT Malik McDowell
DE Ifeadi Odenigbo https://t.co/r6TuQSYDbP
Of course, the Browns host the Las Vegas Raiders in three days. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, Dec. 18. They have several key players on the COVID-19 list in addition to Mayfield including: wide receiver Jarvis Landry, tight end Austin Hooper, guard Wyatt Teller, safety John Johnson, cornerback Troy Hill and defensive coordinator Malik McDowell. In total, Cleveland has 18 players on the COVID-19 list.
Also, Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski was placed on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday alongside his starting quarterback ... this is a full-blown crisis for Cleveland. If Stefanski and all of the players on the list can’t receive two negative tests 24 hours apart before Saturday morning (which is unlikely), they will not be able to play that afternoon.
The Browns are not having a real practice today. There will be separate walkthroughs for offense, defense and special teams.— Zac Jackson (@AkronJackson) December 15, 2021
Backup quarterback Case Keenum will play for Mayfield if Baker is unavailable. Multiple reports stated that the NFL has no current plans of moving or cancelling the game.
Can’t emphasize this enough: there is zero conversation at the NFL meeting about moving the Cleveland game. Same situation as league faced last year and why roster flexibility has been expanded during COVID-19.— Judy Battista (@judybattista) December 15, 2021
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, live now on @nflnetwork, says there has been no discussion on moving the #Browns #Raiders game in light of the COVID outbreak in Cleveland. “We feel confident with continuing changes and adaptions to our protocols we can do that.”— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 15, 2021
The news of Cleveland’s outbreak has majorly affected odds set by the DraftKings Sportsbook. The Raiders are now a 3.5-point favorite and the over/under line has dipped to 37 points. The betting line opened at Browns -6 and the over/under was 43.5