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Baker Mayfield on contract extension: ‘Frankly, I don’t give a damn’

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield might have roughly 258 million reasons to be bitter about the lack of a contract extension.

That figure is what fellow 2018 draft classmate Josh Allen received on his ridiculous six-year contract from the Buffalo Bills recently.

Mayfield joins Allen in being eligible for an extension for the first time in his career. Apparently, he’s not too bent out of shape over negotiations with the Browns being slow going.

“I’m not doing the negotiation, so quite frankly, I don’t give a damn,” Mayfield told NFL Media’s Aditi Kinkhabwala on Sunday.

The quarterback also expanded on that thought process a bit.

“I’m worried about winning. The rest will take care of itself,” Mayfield said. “I don’t have a timeline on it.”

Sure Mayfield would like to get the big bucks ahead of Cleveland’s Week 1 outing against the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs. But it seems as if the former Heisman winner is more concerned about said game and the rest of the Browns’ schedule than how negotiations are going between his camp and the organization.

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Will a Baker Mayfield contract extension happen?

baker mayfield contract extension
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield fakes a throw during NFL football training camp, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Berea, Ohio. (Jeff Lange via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

“I think really for any player or any positional market we’re always aware of the deals that have been done over the past couple years and certainly any new deals that come up over the next couple weeks because we realize that it impacts the market to some degree,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said after the Allen extension was announced. “But at the same time with any player that we’re considering extending we really deal with it on a case by case and individual level and really operate within the parameters that we think make sense for our organization and our team.”

It has to be seen as refreshing to both Mayfield and Browns fans to have someone running their front office who understands the market dynamic. Cleveland’s franchise quarterback is not going to get a deal that rivals what Allen received from Buffalo. This much is clear.

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With that said, Allen’s lucrative extension does play a role in the type of contract Mayfield will receive. What we saw from the former No. 1 pick as a third-year player in 2020 adds another layer to this. He improved leaps and bounds from the previous season.

Baker Mayfield stats and progression

  • 2019: 59.4% completion, 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns, 21 interceptions
  • 2020: 62.8% completion, 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns, eight interceptions

It’s not a coincidence that the Browns posted an 11-5 record in 2020, earning their first playoff appearance since 2002. Mayfield’s progression under center played a major role here.

Baker Mayfield contract

The No. 1 pick back in 2018, Mayfield is set to earn a base salary of $920,000 in 2021. After seeing the Browns pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, the former Oklahoma star is set to earn a base salary of $18.86 million in 2022. If no extension is reached, he’ll become a free agent in March of 2023.

From Cleveland’s perspective, letting this play out for one more season makes sense. It also comes with a risk.

Fellow 2018 classmate Lamar Jackson is also up for an extension. If he signs a new deal ahead of Mayfield, it will impact what the Browns have to offer in order to get their quarterback to sign on a dotted line. Signing Mayfield ahead of the 2021 season would be akin to getting out in front of that.

However, it would also be risky given that the young signal caller has performed at a starter-caliber level in just one of his first three NFL seasons.