Will Browns, Baker Mayfield agree on a second contract?

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Josh Allen has his. Lamar Jackson hopefully will get his in the upcoming bye week. Baker Mayfield may not get one at all.

The shoulder injury suffered by the Browns quarterback when making a tackle in Week Two has on one level overshadowed but on a deeper level underscored the fact that he has yet to agree to terms on a second contract with the team that made him the first overall pick in the 2018 draft.

As the clock ticks toward Mayfield’s option year in 2022 and then, after that, a possible franchise tag, it’s fair to begin to wonder whether the two sides will work out acceptable terms on a multi-year extension.

And it’s not just a question of whether the Browns are willing to extend Mayfield. The real question is whether the Browns will make Mayfield an offer he won’t refuse. At one point not that long ago, each quarterback who was due for a new deal became the new highest-paid player in league history. From Andrew Luck to Derek Carr to Matthew Stafford to Jimmy Garoppolo to Kirk Cousins to Matt Ryan, each guy kept pushing the bar a little higher.

That’s likely changing. With Patrick Mahomes at $45 million per year in new money and with Dak Prescott at $40 million (but actually with a much better deal) and Josh Allen splitting the difference at $43 million annually, the chances of Mayfield coming in at $45.1 million, for example, are slim.

It makes sense, frankly, for a second tier of quarterback salaries to emerge, with a player who is good enough to remain with his team but not good enough to break the bank getting something in the range of $33 million to $35 million per year in new money. That make seem like a lot. However, with the looming cap explosion fueled by new TV deals and stacks of gambling cash, that soon becomes a significant value.

If that’s what the Browns want to do but not what Mayfield wants to accept, the team has the franchise tag available for 2023 and 2024. Mayfield could go year to year and become a free agent, like Cousins did in 2018. Once the tag is applied, however, the analysis changes, with contract value driven not by the notion that Mayfield should be at the top of Tier Two but by the payout under the tag in 2023, 2024 (20-percent bump), and 2025 (44-percent spike).

The risk for the Browns of paying Mayfield a market-value deal is obvious. Although G.M. Andrew Berry tried to say earlier this year that the Jared Goff and Carson Wentz contracts aren’t cautionary tales, the Browns need to be careful; for 2022, caveat emptor could be an appropriate T-shirt slogan.

Then there’s the very real question of whether the Browns could upgrade at the position. What if, for example, Russell Wilson (who was born in Ohio) looks at the various rosters after the 2021 season and decides that the revised list of teams to which he’d accept a trade is now headlined by the Browns? They have the defense, the running game, the offensive line, the pass catchers. Although Mayfield is good enough, the Browns have to ask whether he’s great enough to deliver a Super Bowl win. Wilson clearly is.

These are all fair issues to ponder given Mayfield’s performance to date. Surprisingly good in 2018, he regressed in 2019. Last year, he came on strong in the second half of the season. This year, he’s struggling either because of the injury or because he has regressed again.

The NFL currently has a glut of great quarterbacks, with more coming from college every year. Would Mayfield currently be in the top half of the league? As passer rating goes, Mayfield lands at No. 16. He’s 19th in yards, 25th in touchdown passes.

The Browns, frankly, will become an attractive team for veteran quarterbacks hoping to engineer a Tom Brady-style stacked deck. By next year, Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, and Deshaun Watson (if he’s not traded by November 2) could become interested in joining a loaded roster with an offensive specialist coaching the team.

These are all factors the Browns must consider before deciding not whether to keep Mayfield but whether to pay Mayfield anything close to what he’ll want. At a certain point, his financial expectations justify looking for an upgrade. And while Mayfield has had his moments, it would be foolish for the Browns not to regard plenty of other quarterbacks as a potential upgrade.

62 responses to “Will Browns, Baker Mayfield agree on a second contract?

  1. What we pretty much never see in these situations is a team just letting their QB hit the open market. What would Baker get on the open market? Jameis Winston is the closest we have seen to that and it wasn’t pretty for him.

    With QBs it’s not just about your Madden rating. It’s scheme fit, personality fit, and so many other factors that teams consider.

  2. The Browns have perhaps the best front office in the league. I’ll just sit back and watch how they handle it, and use it as a learning experience.

  3. They should put their limited cap resources elsewhere. Emulate what Washington did. They signed Heinicke, a really mobile, super talented quarterback at a bargain basement price freeing them up to invest in a dominant defensive line. As a result WFT came closer than anyone else to beating Tampa in the playoffs. Given the economics, teams are better off with a underpaid star like Heinicke at the helm instead of the prohibitively expensive Mahomes and Wilsons of the world. CLE needs to be smart.

  4. Baker Mayfield is not only a good quarterback, he’s better than anyone that will be in the draft next year. If the Browns don’t give him a good contract, there are MANY teams that will be waiting to scoop him up.

  5. Mayfield’s just not that good. So, year-to-year, all the while looking for a veteran upgrade, seems the likely scenario.

  6. Brutal reality. He had to have a better season. The injury has put a dent in it, but at no point was he a dominant player. To pay him way more than any one else he has to be dominant. Allen is. Jackson is. Mahomes is. Behind him Burrow is. Their performance overwhelms the rest of their team. I don’t even think he is an mvp on the Browns, never mind dominant.

  7. Definitely not a QB good enough to lead his team to the Super Bowl whereas if Wilson or Rodgers were to lead them, then the Browns are for sure a Super Bowl contender. Problem is can the Browns reel in one of those two?

  8. He is a mid level starter who happens to looks better than he is because he is propped up by and elite line, rbs and play caller. Despite all of these luxuries he still can’t manage to stay out of harms way and stay healthy. If Cleveland does pay him they will have to let go of some of their other better players because of this. I’m sorry but if you’re going to do that I’d look to upgrade the position or even start over with another rookie. He is decent but not worth breaking the bank over.

  9. He will go into 2022 on his option year unless he signs a <$30M deal this year possibly laden with incentives. He may fit Stefanski's system perfectly but, has yet to prove he can win a game in the last 2 minutes. I trust AB on this.

  10. No is my initial thought is no Baker won’t. Baker’s career percentage stats are very similar to those of Case Keenum’s.

    He cost himself a huge chunk of money with that ill advised tackle.

  11. nickinneohio says:
    October 23, 2021 at 3:33 pm
    He will go into 2022 on his option year unless he signs a <$30M deal this year possibly laden with incentives. He may fit Stefanski's system perfectly but, has yet to prove he can win a game in the last 2 minutes. I trust AB on this.

    Actually, Baker has seven fourth quarter comebacks with a few being in the last two minutes.

  12. Stupidity of the whole thing is encapsulated in paragraph 4. None of those players deserved to be the highest paid. Lunacy.

  13. masterofmydomain2017 says:
    October 23, 2021 at 4:28 pm
    nickinneohio says:
    October 23, 2021 at 3:33 pm
    He will go into 2022 on his option year unless he signs a <$30M deal this year possibly laden with incentives. He may fit Stefanski's system perfectly but, has yet to prove he can win a game in the last 2 minutes. I trust AB on this.

    Actually, Baker has seven fourth quarter comebacks with a few being in the last two minutes.
    —————————————————————————————————-
    Don’t forget about last season’s game against the Jets, who were 1-13 at the time. With 1:15 left in the game, 4th and 1, Mayfield attempted a QB sneak. Not only did he fail to get a yard, but he fumbled. Browns lost. First game of this season against the Chiefs, marching down the field and Mayfield tosses an interception with 1:09 left in the game. Browns lose. You can focus on comebacks though.

  14. They will not pay Baker. Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow loom large in the division.

  15. Emulate what Washington did??
    If you want to be a bad football team then sure

  16. They should let him play his fifth year option at 18 million in 2022, and wait until the franchise tag deadline. So far, I don’t think he proved himself as a franchise pocket QB in the first place.

  17. curtis20 says:
    October 23, 2021 at 2:49 pm
    Nope hes not that good. Franchise tag just like Cousins until they figure it out.

    ______________________________

    If you “franchise tag” him, does he not get the average of the top five at the position? Which is just north of 40 million.

  18. “The Browns, frankly, will become an attractive team for veteran quarterbacks hoping to engineer a Tom Brady-style stacked deck.”
    ——————————————————–

    So, based on this statement, Mayfield is the weak link and the Browns are a QB away from contending for a championship? Yeah, I’m thinking not.

  19. The interesting part is the timing and math. Only possible to have 32 big QB contracts in NFL. Now take into account highly drafted qbs in 2nd -3rd year during okay or great? Timing is huge in terms of your contract years, availability

  20. He is a mid level starter who happens to looks better than he is because he is propped up by and elite line, rbs and play caller.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Weird he had none of those things when he set the rookie QB TD record.
    It’d be super cool if people would stop regurgitating things they hear friends of Hue Jackson say on TV.

  21. Play out the rookie contract & let him walk. It was the decision Bears made with Trubisky last year. Baker can go be a backup and try to demonstrate he can stay healthy & available.

  22. charliecharger says:
    October 23, 2021 at 2:24 pm
    The Browns have perhaps the best front office in the league. I’ll just sit back and watch how they handle it, and use it as a learning experience.————
    L—O—L.
    Obviously, not..

  23. Look Mayfield is just not that good. That he is part of a package that have made the BROWNS respectable deserves some appreciation but realistically he’s a 11-20 rank QB at best. And worse than that if he loses a chuck of the help around him.

    He’s just not a guy you bust the bank for. And if he ISN’T THE GUY (and I don’t think he is) who will get you within sniffing distance of a Superbowl he’s a $15 million a year guy at best. Why blow money on a guy who can’t get it done?

    You PAY a Brady, Mahomes, Rodgers whatever it takes because they are the real deal. You pay everybody else what you can afford that will not destroy the team around them and if they don’t like it you tell them to walk. Someone else can pay them $35 mil a year to not get to the Superbowl.

    But you run, RUN, from a Watson, Kapernick or Newton. Cam is washed up, Kapernick is a never was (4-20 in his last 24 games name any other quality QB who’s done that PFT and oh by the way remember a guy named Trent Dilfer? He at least helped win the Superbowl his team got to.) and Watson is a criminal conviction away (if not for this set on incidents then the next ones, you just can’t fix stupid) from never seeing a football field again.

    The guy who gets you to and wins a Superbowl is worth keeping as long as he still has it (looking at you Ben) everybody else, EVERYBODY ELSE, is a replaceable part.

  24. Baker has. No one to blame but Baker. The ill-advised tackle after throwing a INT ruined any chance to have a strong Year 4. I want Baker to succeed but his role to get the Browns back to relevance is appreciated, but we want a Super Bowl in our lifetime and Baker is not the guy. Go get one of the 3 veterans with Wilson a perfect fit for Stefanski.

  25. Play out the rookie contract & let him walk. It was the decision Bears made with Trubisky last year. Baker can go be a backup and try to demonstrate he can stay healthy & available.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    Dude went 51 straight starts before he missed a game due to injury. Hes already demonstrated he can stay healthy and available. Why does Baker inspire so many uninformed comments?

  26. Like it or not, this is going to get messy for Baker and the Browns. Personally, I’d pay the man. Remember these fools were like 0-18 before Mayfield came in and won a freaking football game for this beleaguered franchise.

    I’d play the long game on this asset which they already have a lot invested in. Too soon to flush that investment.

  27. I give Mayfield credit for playing tackle football. I’ll bet his teammates do too. He should roll the dice and play next year for his contract.

  28. The Browns have perhaps the best front office in the league. I’ll just sit back and watch how they handle it, and use it as a learning experience.

    Brandon beane and the buffalo bills would like to disagree. Cleveland has literally had nothing to do but draft at the top of the draft for years so they should be good. The bills front office is littered with 5-8 guys who could be AGM or GM some day. Their work worh josh Allen has set a precedent never seen at that position in the NFL.
    Allen has set the record for most tds in his first 2 Monday night football games.

    Cleveland is good and I’m not taking anything away from them but beane is an
    Absolute stud as a GM

  29. Trade for Wilson.

    Browns get Wilson
    Seahawks get Mayfield 2 number one picks and a 2nd round pick

  30. The biggest mistake teams make is paying 35 million to mid level QBs.
    Its one thing to pay 44MM to a very good QB.
    But paying 35 to an average QB sets you back.

    You are better off drafting a QB than paying an average one 35/year.
    Your pick may be a bust, in which case you have to draft a new one in a year or two.
    Or they may be average, and you save 30MM a year for 4 years.
    Thats quite a difference.

    And there is considerable risk extending a QB after 3 years. Look at Goff and Wentz.
    If Baker wants $2MM/year I’d not do it. I’d accept tagging him twice and his leaving (to be overpaid by another team ,where he would disappoint them). Or maybe they can trade him.
    Just because you are the #1 pick doesn’t entitle you to a monster payday when your contract is up.

  31. Weird is that a guy like Brady has never been the highest paid and continues to do so, but that’s cool for everyone. If this guy doesn’t become the highest paid, he’s a bust. I dunno, if he backs up what he says about not being greedy and being a team guy, and takes a contract agreeable to both sides, AND the team reinvests that money back into other players, AND they don’t go 0-fer ever again, I’d keep him.

  32. If he was willing to take 30-35 per year, do it, and we can keep a good roster around him. He’s a good qb but not good enough to carry a team on his own. Not many are, so a lot of these qb contracts are just bad business

  33. Don’t belueve Mayfield’s ego will allow him to take around $30mill when others are around $40mill. Browns would really be hitching their wagons to him by paying him $40mill per. He is maybe the 10th best QB in the league.

  34. Is he Mahomes or Lamar? No, but he is a very good QB who is a great leader, has a ton of moxie and throws a fine ball. He took the Browns from 1-15 to 11-5, which is no mean feat. He is worth a long-term deal, just not for Mahomes money.

  35. I’m of two minds on this: The brass arent high on Mayfield after four years. He hasnt delivered the way they hoped and considering the num 1 picks surrounding him on D, this team should be near the top of the heap and it isnt.
    On the other side, we have a manageable guy and to not renew we have to start looking for a replacement and that isnt easy considering how many other teams need a QB also. If the later is true they will give him a contract but it wont be what his agent is asking for thats for sure.

  36. If there’s no significant difference the next few weeks with Keenam, then you’ll know Mayfield is just a journeyman talent and can be sent packing.

  37. I like Bakers toughness, mentality, mobility and fearlessness.
    He is lacking right now in accuracy, and working through his progressions.
    He doesn’t have the same arm talent (nobody does) as Josh Allen, but you light recall that two years ago we had all the same questions about Allen’s future.

  38. I think that Baker should be concerned if the Browns reel off a few wins in a row with Case at quarterback.
    It will demonstrate that consistent (even if not spectacular) qb play coupled with solid defense is all this team needs to win now.

  39. To pay Mayfield anything more than $20 million per is absolutely foolish. Case Keenum can do for the Browns what Mayfield does. No one should be worried about letting Mayfield walk. There have been 4 QBs taken in the last 2 Drafts that Mayfield isnt even close to being better than Herbert, Burrow, Mac Jones and Trevor Lawrence. There is always a QB in the Draft. What exactly has Mayfield done to warrant more than $20 million nothing. The Browns win in spite of how bad Mayfield is,not because of him. They win because of their running game and OL. Mayfield had a game winning drive vs the Bengals last year. That is the only time the Browns won because of his effort specifically.

  40. The Only good trait Mayfield has is a strong arm. But he negates that with how inaccurate he is, horrible play action fakes, poor footwork. poor preparation and not knowing where all his receivers are, being unathletic and being short. And Browns fans u think this guy deserves $35-$40 million. That is laughable

  41. I’m only using guys drafted them same year, watch Allen and Jackson play. 150% effort to do what is necessary to win. Mayfield is decent so those using the (0-18) excuse need to stop bc they had no where to go but up. But he doesn’t do whatever it takes to win. He’s not jumping for first downs . Cleveland’s roster is pretty good so they should win with Keenum.

    He’s at best 20-25m per year

  42. howboutthemcowboys2020 says:
    October 24, 2021 at 11:06 am
    The Only good trait Mayfield has is a strong arm. But he negates that with how inaccurate he is, horrible play action fakes, poor footwork. poor preparation and not knowing where all his receivers are, being unathletic and being short. And Browns fans u think this guy deserves $35-$40 million. That is laughable
    ___
    Sad to say but you’re right.

  43. Today’s game unfortunately shows why the Ravens shouldn’t pay Lamar that much money. I’m a Ravens fan and love the guy but in these playoff-type atmospheres and games when he faces pressure and has to make quick reads and quick accurate throws. he struggles big time. Tucks it and runs. Yes, he’s an unreal scrambler but that doesn’t work consistently enough. You have to feel the pressure and know where to go and deliver the ball quick. Not his strength.

  44. Tough spot for Cleveland and Baker, especially because the draft stinks this year for QB’s

  45. jrquiz says:
    October 23, 2021 at 8:46 pm
    Like it or not, this is going to get messy for Baker and the Browns. Personally, I’d pay the man. Remember these fools were like 0-18 before Mayfield came in and won a freaking football game for this beleaguered franchise.

    I’d play the long game on this asset which they already have a lot invested in. Too soon to flush that investment.
    ——————————————————-

    I agree. Cleveland had better remember the long, sad line of QBs they had before Baker. Is he great? No. But he’s shown that he can improve. That Minnesota game was baffling. But absolutely they should keep him.

    And there is no “$30 million per year” starter. If the Browns made Keenum the starter his agent would demand $40 million per year. That’s not how the QB market works right now. And before we talk about tagging Baker for a couple of years – remember, the WTF doing that to Cousins is how QB salaries skyrocketed over the course of a couple of years.

  46. Baker is not a franchise qb. He is an Andy Dalton type qb. If I were the Browns I would either let him walk or try to trade him for Justin Fields. I think Fields on the Browns would be lethal. Case Keenum winning is the worst thing that could happen to Baker in a big contract year.

  47. If you re-sign Baker, it needs to be in the $25-30 million range. Top tier QBs get $45 million because they can throw the ball to anyone and still make them a 1,000 yard / 10 TD WR. For Baker, you need that extra $15 million for a top 10 WR to make the offense hum.

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