Baker Mayfield, Quarterback
When is the best time for a franchise to win? When their star quarterback is on their rookie deal. Just ask the Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs. While that is true, the Browns will be in a different situation with quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Those Seahawk and Chiefs teams that won Super Bowls had a ton of veterans making big dollars. Cleveland has done a nice job of building a roster of young talent that is already playing for a discount.
Knowing that, IF Mayfield has the success many believe he will in 2020 under Kevin Stefanski he is another player the Browns should seriously consider extending next offseason. Again, by signing him a little earlier than later, the Browns could save themselves a few million dollars each year. This is a similar strategy as the New England Patriots who seem to let guys go a few years early, versus a few years late. The key is, Berry must be certain the player will live up to expectations.
The good news about Mayfield is he is super competitive and makes a lot of money off endorsements. I will never criticize a player for making as much money as they can, but maybe Mayfield will take the Tom Brady approach. Take less salary from the team, make money off endorsements, and allow Berry to build a strong roster with extra cap space. Mayfield certainly doesn’t owe that to the Browns, but one can dream.
Mayfield saw his touchdowns and completion percentage go down and his interceptions go up in 2019 compared to 2018, look for him to have a strong rebound in 2020. Don’t expect him to be the next Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees, but his creativeness and arm strength is plenty to get the Browns to the next level.
With a strong performance in 2020, the Browns should consider making it official that Mayfield is “the guy” moving forward. Give him the long-term deal that may come at a discount for giving it to him a year early.