After 20 years of bad luck, the Cleveland Browns seem to have found their franchise quarterback and have even put a winning team around him. Baker Mayfield is in year four and will need a new contract soon to keep him in Cleveland.
However, experts and fans in Cleveland are torn on whether the gunslinger deserves a large extension based on his play. My job is to try and answer that question. One that general manager Andrew Berry has been working to answer himself.
The Case for an Extension
If you look at what Mayfield did to end last season you’d see a reason why they would want to extend. In the back half of last season, Mayfield looked the part of a franchise quarterback. He was a leader, he made big throws and he was a huge part of the team’s playoff push. He has proven his worth in that regard.
Not to mention he may be the best quarterback the Browns have had in almost 20 years. While that isn’t a great argument in some regards, it proves a very valuable point. It isn’t easy to find a good quarterback, let alone one that has performed this well.
The Browns have had awful luck with QBs in the past and Baker Mayfield has come in and solved all of them. And if history has shown us anything, it’s that finding a quarterback that can help you win games is hard. And the Browns have done that.
Baker is a leader on the field and is a fan favorite player. He has quickly become one of the faces of the franchise and is one of the team’s best players. If you combine all of those reasons, it makes a case for Baker Mayfield to get his money.
The Case Against an Extension
While Mayfield has certainly had his moments, there a definitely still some negatives. Over his first 3 seasons in the NFL he has been inconsistent. Some of his play has been elite quarterback play, but there are definitely a fair share of lapses.
His whole second season in the NFL was a good example of the bad play you might be getting. Baker also carried that into the beginning of his third season too but was able to turn it around. While you could argue that coaching didn’t help him, he showed good play under Hue Jackson and Gregg Williams so that argument is interesting too.
Baker has had three coaches in three seasons and has shown good and bad under all three. That inconsistency is the biggest worry for those who believe Mayfield is not worth an extension. He has one full season of winning and has yet to put together 16 good games in a season.
The Browns also have to worry about cap space and their Super Bowl window. When you sign a QB to a monster deal, you pay the consequences of his cap hit. And the Browns probably don’t want that number on the books right now, so the team can continue to have the talent it does now.
The Bottom Line
Baker Mayfield is the best Browns quarterback of the 2000s and has probably done enough to warrant getting his payday. While the play has been inconsistent, the Browns do have two seasons to figure out what they want to do. And one more good season should tell them everything they need to know.
I think Mayfield should get paid right now if I was one who got to choose. However, I think the team waits and sees what he does in the 2021 season. Mayfield is going to get paid, it’s just a matter of when and how much.
The Browns will have to see what the cap looks like in the future as they are getting to be an expensive roster, with more talented players to pay in the future as well. The Browns need to get this done before the price is steepened by Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray. But it seems we will have to be patient with Baker Mayfield’s new contract.
Thanks for reading my article on Baker Mayfield’s contract.
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