2. Baker Mayfield – Quarterback
While many fans are down on Baker Mayfield after a difficult 2019 season, it could be the perfect timing for a long-term deal. You must read between the lines on this one. His rookie year was tremendous, and then he took a major step back in year two. The experts will say sophomore slump, but any fan that watched the games knows that head coach Freddie Kitchens was a major issue as well.
How many times did the Browns run a play and you ask yourself, “What was he thinking there?” Kitchens looked overwhelmed and the offense could never catch a rhythm. The offensive line was also awful, especially on the edges most of last season.
Mayfield was sacked 40 times and was running for his life most of the season. Wills and Jack Conklin will be major upgrades at tackle next season and will have Mayfield feeling much more comfortable in the pocket.
Odell Beckham played his heart out through an injury last season, but he also had some uncharacteristic drops that always seemed to come on third-down. The trust was never there and at times Mayfield seemed to force the ball. A virtual offseason won’t help that issue, but there will still be time before the season for Mayfield and Beckham to work out all the kinks.
Long story short, Mayfield can be the franchise guy, and giving him the keys to the car wouldn’t be a terrible idea. Signing him now to a long-term deal could save you money in the long run. If he has a breakout year in 2020 his price tag will go up substantially and could limit the re-signing of other crucial players. There’s no doubt this would be a risk, but it appears to be worth it given all the facts.