The Browns have yet to engage in negotiations with Baker Mayfield on a long-term deal. However, owner Jimmy Haslam made it clear that it’s more a matter of when, not if, Mayfield will sign an extension.
“We’re are all pleased to see the growth in Baker last year both as a player and as a leader,’’ Haslam said during a recent press conference (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). “We all understand how important quarterback is in the NFL. We were delighted to see that.
“Baker deserves a fifth-year option, and he and Andrew [Berry] have both addressed the possibility of things after that. We’ll leave that up to Andrew to decide when that happens, but we’re well pleased with where Baker is.”
It’s a bit refreshing to see an owner defer to his general manager, but Haslam seems to be hinting that Mayfield would stick around Cleveland for the foreseeable future. There’s no real rush for the two sides to agree on a long-term pact, and it makes some sense for both sides to exercise patience. For the Browns, they can continue to evaluate the progress of the former first-overall pick, especially following a career year where Mayfield led the Browns to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
For Mayfield, it makes sense to wait for Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson , who could easily land a five-year deal in excess of $210MM, putting him just behind Patrick Mahomes‘ league-leading average annual value. Mayfield would command less than the Ravens QB, but Jackson’s deal could push Mayfield’s ask above $35MM/year.
For what it’s worth, Mayfield isn’t all that worried about a lack of extension, with the 26-year-old noting that he has greater priorities at the moment.
“Whatever happens, happens, but it really is out of my control at this point,” Mayfield said (via Cabot). “The fifth-year option just happened so a long-term deal is a little bit on the back burner for me. I am not worried about it. I want to go out and win games. I think everything happens for a reason so we will see what happens.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.