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Baker Mayfield contract extension? Cleveland Browns have their concerns

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield joined other members of the 2018 NFL Draft in becoming eligible for a contract extension back in March.

NFL rules mandate that players must accrue three years of service time before being eligible for an extension. As of right now, only one member of the class has received said extension. That came in the form of Las Vegas Raiders tackle Kolton Miller.

As for Mayfield and the Browns, there were suggestions that the two sides would work on a lucrative long-term contract extension during the offseason. Right now, that’s looking pretty iffy.

“The Browns could have concerns about entering into an expensive long-term extension with Mayfield, but picking up the fifth-year option looks like a formality,” Mike Sando of The Athletic noted recently. “The price remains below market value for starting quarterbacks. The team could then evaluate Mayfield over the next year or longer if a palatable extension remained elusive.”

It makes perfect sense for the Browns to pick up the fifth-year option on Mayfield’s contract for the 2022 season. That would pay him $18.86 million, roughly the 16th-highest figure among quarterbacks this coming year. As for a potential, Mayfield contract extension, there’s a lot to look at here.

Read More: Cleveland Browns updated 7-round 2021 NFL mock draft

What would a fair Baker Mayfield contract look like?

Baker Mayfield contract
Jan 3, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) celebrates after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-22 at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott just signed a four-year, $160 million deal with the Dallas Cowboys. He became just the second $40 million per year quarterback in the NFL, joining Patrick Mahomes.

That seems to be the higher-water mark for any Mayfield extension negotiations. In terms of a baseline for a new deal, he could be looking at the $33.5 million Jared Goff is earning on his contract after being acquired from the Detroit Lions from the Los Angeles Rams earlier in the offseason.

Read More: Kolton Miller signs massive extension: 5 NFL players now in line for new deals

Market dynamic and Baker Mayfield contract

This is an important thing to note. As we’ve seen throughout the years, the quarterback market has reset itself on a near-monthly basis. That won’t change moving forward on the offseason with more proven quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen also eligible for extensions.

What does this mean for Mayfield? It’s rather simple. Cleveland would likely save a nice amount of cash over the long term by locking up the former No. 1 pick before Jackson and Allen sign their imminent extensions. If that were not to happen, the market would increase for Mayfield from a financial perspective.

As for the quarterback, he might be alright with playing out the 2021 season and engaging in extension talks with Cleveland next spring.

The 25-year-old signal caller is coming off a career-best 2020 campaign that saw him put up 3,563 yards with 26 touchdowns against eight interceptions en route to leading the Browns to their best single-season performance since all the way back in 1994 when Bill Belichick was their head coach. That could also play a role moving forward.

For now, it doesn’t seem like a Baker Mayfield contract extension is in the cards this offseason. Things could change on a dime depending on what happens with the aforementioned Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson.