Browns, Baker Mayfield still haven’t talked contract

NFL: NOV 07 Browns at Bengals
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The Browns have given major contracts to a couple of the men who block for their quarterback. The Browns still aren’t ready to pay their quarterback.

As explained by Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns and Mayfield have yet to engage in “substantive contract talks.” She adds that talks could happen before the end of the current season.

Mayfield is signed through 2022. He’s due to make more than $18.5 million next season, the option year of his rookie contract.

Joel Bitonio, who followed Wyatt Teller as the newest highly-paid member of the team’s offense, said Wednesday that Mayfield is the guy.

“Of course,” Bitonio said, via Cabot. “I think he’s shown a lot. From day one, before he even got drafted by the Cleveland Browns, he said, ‘I want to go to Cleveland. I want to help turn that around.’ Having that mentality, the toughness he plays with, the savvy he plays with and the ability he shows when he plays football, I think he’s the right guy for the job.

So, yes, Bitonio wants Mayfield to continue to be the team’s quarterback.

“I would love to see that,” Bitonio said, “but I didn’t even know about my contract until a few days ago. It’s a lot. I know we are in-season right now, and the team is really starting to focus in on going 1-0 this week. He’s our guy, and we love Bake, his personality and his ability. He is someone who I think people rally around.”

The challenge becomes determining the right value for Mayfield. There’s no question regarding whether the Browns want Mayfield. But will the team’s valuation of the player match the player’s valuation of himself? The days of the next quarterback to be signed instantly becoming the highest-paid player in league history are over.

The Browns may view Mayfield as a guy who should get $30 million per year. Mayfield may want more than $40 million per year. That’s where it will get interesting.

Come 2023, then what? Will the Browns use the franchise tag? What happens in 2024? If Mayfield and the Browns can’t reach a middle ground, how do they proceed?

For now, Mayfield carries the risk of injury or ineffectiveness. The Browns assume the risk that Mayfield will become so good that they’ll have no choice but to give him what he wants. The Browns would probably welcome that — as long as he doesn’t regress like Jared Goff after Baker breaks the bank.

12 responses to “Browns, Baker Mayfield still haven’t talked contract

  1. Everyone complains about him for one reason or another but after 20 years of QB purgatory, you don’t walk away from a solid QB. He won’t get Mahomes money. He doesn’t expect Mahomes money. I trust the front office. They’ll get it done.

  2. I hope they can work out something. Let’s face it, the Browns couldn’t have been a dream destination for a new QB entering the league. But he’s had a good attitude, and played well. He’s not Mahomes, but he’s a solid QB. I like the way this front office is building the team so far. I just hope it will be sustained.

  3. He’s put himself in limbo with his up-down performance. Rookie year and second-half of last year he was lights out brilliant. Absolutely showed that he could be a top-10/top-5 qb for the duration of his career.

    Those windows sandwiched two bad years where he looked lost and disoriented: barely serviceable.

    This year he has played both well and poorly, made more complex by injury.

    Consistency matters, and he hasn’t been consistent so he shouldn’t get (or expect) top-end money. But he’s confident and willing to bet on himself. Maybe he doesn’t sign at all and “proves it” next year…and maybe that’s okay.

  4. Very smart work by AB here. They have a number in mind that they are willing to pay, and are signing all the pieces around him first. This will leave Baker with a take it or leave it offer, as there will only be so much cap space after everyone else gets signed. If he leaves then it then all the pieces are in place for the next guy (which I hope doesn’t come to that). If he can live with the idea that he isn’t getting 40+ million a year, all is well.

  5. Teams don’t get burned overpaying a good QB a few million per year.

    They get burned overpaying an up and down QB 10 MM/year.

  6. Browns fans have been in QB purgatory for so long that having Mayfield is like looking thru rose colored glasses……..dark rose colored. If your down by 17 to start the 4th qtr, do you really think he can come back and win the game?

  7. Baker has never given the impression he wants Cleveland to break the bank. I’d bet that he would sign 5 years @ ~32mil. Maybe his agent wants more, but I doubt Baker puts much thought into being paid at the top. He is absolutely killing the endorsements.

  8. The fact that he still plays in that cesspool known as Cleveland should warrant some extra consideration. The guy has just played ball – sometimes not great ball – but considering the dolts they’ve had, he is nearly average!

  9. He knows who he is as we do and that is good enough to win it i say he signs a 4 year deal
    for 116 million (29 m average ) at the very low end of QB salaries but who amongst us wouldn’t feel like we won the lottery and went to heaven .

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