Baker Mayfield is still set for a massive contract extension

(Photo by Jason Miller / Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns are 3-1 in 2021.

This is the continuation of an excellent 11-5 season that resulted in a playoff berth and a wild card victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Browns are a young team with players still on rookie contracts.

Among them is Baker Mayfield, the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Browns have already exercised their fifth-year option for the 2022 season.

However, this is the NFL where contract extensions are negotiated early and often especially for quarterbacks.

Mayfield, Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens and Sam Darnold of the Carolina Panthers are on the same timeline.

His fellow draftsman Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills got his extension first.

Pay Mayfield

Inside and outside of Cleveland, Baker Mayfield is a polarizing figure.

People think he’s either the Browns franchise quarterback of the future or he’s not a good quarterback at all.

Comparing your numbers to Allen’s or Jackson’s seems silly.

Each team runs a different type of offense, so this is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

Current rhythm

Dak Prescott and Allen have shown that the current quarterback rate in 2021 is $ 40 million per year.

The Browns may decide not to pay Mayfield the maximum price.

They can put it off and the franchise will tag it in 2023, but the Dallas Cowboys did that trick with Prescott and all they did was let time pass and the current rate went up.

Maybe they could recruit a new quarterback and start over.

Or they can sign a free agent.

Free agents, especially established veterans, are also expensive.

What will Mayfield do?

Mayfield has always admired Tom Brady.

Brady needs less than usual to play in the NFL for a number of reasons.

One, you have the TB12 and backups that bring you a lot of revenue.

Second, you leave money on the table for the team you are playing with to build around it.

It really is a success.

The Browns will find themselves at a crossroads very soon.

Years of having so many top draft picks means those players are nearing the end of their rookie contracts, so it’s not just Mayfield that will have to get paid.

They already took care of Nick Chubb.

However, Wyatt Teller could become a free agent later this year.

And Denzel Ward is on the same schedule as Mayfield.

There are only a few dollars to go around.

Mayfield has backups; Could you go the Tom Brady route and accept less money?

He would leave money on the table for the Browns to pay other young players.

Mayfield in 2021

On top of all this, Mayfield has struggled the last two games.

Some argue that you are dealing with the ramifications of a no-shed shoulder injury in week 2 that requires you to wear a harness.

Does this minimize your market value?

Is your extension in jeopardy or possibly taking longer?

Nobody really knows.

The Browns are not going to negotiate during the season, so there is time to wait and wonder how this situation will play out in the long run for both Mayfield and the Browns.

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