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Cleveland Browns reportedly willing to offer 30-plus million per year for Baker Mayfield contract

Baker Mayfield contract, Cleveland Browns
Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cleveland Browns put off a Baker Mayfield contract extension, wanting to see how the face of their franchise performed in 2021 before making him one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. While Mayfield was willing to bet on himself, things haven’t worked out thus far.

Mayfield threw an interception in Week 1 and suffered a shoulder injury when he threw his body at the defender trying to make a tackle. While he played well in Week 2, the damage to his non-throwing arm started to take a toll on the 26-year-old quarterback.

In his last three games, Mayfield completed just 61.29% of his pass attempts and he didn’t have as much zip on his throws. Already playing through a torn labrum, he landed on that same left shoulder and it sustained additional damage.

Diagnosed with a tuberosity fracture, in addition to the fully torn labrum, Mayfield missed Week 7 and there is concern he could miss additional time. He will also need to undergo surgery after the season, but the shoulder could sustain more damage if he keeps playing.

While Mayfield’s toughness is admired, there are renewed questions about his ability to stay healthy. Also, whether or not the Browns can feel confident investing more than $100 million into him. But it seems the front office isn’t shaken in their belief that Mayfield is worth an extension.

Latest on Baker Mayfield contract negotiations

ESPN’s Dan Graziano wrote about the Mayfield contract situation Monday, explaining that the Browns’ willingness to make Mayfield one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL isn’t shaken.

“I still think — actually, I know — that the Browns would bring Mayfield back for the right price. I don’t think they want to pay him at Patrick Mahomes/Josh Allen levels, but they believe they can win with him and would pay him in the mid-to-high $30 millions per year to stick around.” 

ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano on potential Baker Mayfield contact extension
  • Baker Mayfield contract: $10.569 million cap hit (2021), $18.858 million salary (2022)

Cleveland already exercised Mayfield’s fifth-year option, securing his return next year for $18.858 million fully guaranteed. The organization also doesn’t have to rush into negotiations, holding the ability to apply the exclusive franchise tag to Mayfield In 2023 and 2024.

If the Browns are willing to start at $36-plus million per season, Mayfield would instantly become the fifth-highest paid quarterback in the NFL. Entering 2021, Russell Wilson, Jared Goff and Aaron Rodgers ranked fifth, sixth and seventh in quarterback salaries.

It might be wise for general manager Andrew Berry to let things play out. Cleveland is projected to be just $12 million under the salary cap in 2022 and there are other integral players worthy of extensions.

But with NFL revenue skyrocketing and the value of quarterbacks increasing, the Browns might ultimately view $34-$38 million as a justifiable cost for Mayfield’s contract. If that happens, though, it will come at the cost of keeping important talent on both sides of the ball.

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