Even if it costs more in long run, Cleveland Browns right to wait on Baker Mayfield
The Cleveland Browns may end up paying more for Baker Mayfield after the Josh Allen extension but they’re still right to practice patience
There’s been a lot of buzz about the Cleveland Browns and their quarterback situation ever since the Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen agreed to a six-year extension worth $258 million.
Naturally, the extension for Allen — who was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft — has led to speculation about what the Browns will now have to pay for Baker Mayfield — the No. 1 pick in that same draft. While it’s true the contract will serve as a barometer for what Mayfield will earn, it doesn’t force the Browns to work any quicker, nor should it.
Cleveland has time on their side after picking up the fifth-year option on Mayfield ahead of this year. That means Baker is under contract for 2021 and 2022 — and will count $18.8 million against the cap in 2022.
Ideally, you would want your quarterback locked up long-term but Allen’s extension is a reminder that it will eat up a huge chunk of the salary cap — which means you better be sure about the guy you are paying.
The Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Philadelphia Eagles all hurried to pay their guys and they say how bad it can be to have a guy eating up a huge chunk of your salary if he’s not the answer. Not only that, but they also then have to figure out how to replace that guy, while he’s still under contract.
For Cleveland GM Andrew Berry, that’s what he wants to avoid
While Mayfield was elite down the stretch for the Browns in 2020, he did have some rough games early on and wasn’t great in 2019. There are reasons for each of those situations that can explain his struggles.
Throughout 2019, Mayfield was playing with a proverbial anchor around his ankle with Freddie Kitchens calling plays. As for his slow start in 2020, that was due to the fact that he was working with his fourth head coach in three years. On top of that, the Browns had to do the entire offseason by way of virtual meetings.
With those factors being considered, it’s probably most likely that the guy we saw from Week 7 on for Cleveland is the Baker Mayfield this Browns team will have going forward. But waiting to be sure is the right move.
Cleveland might end up paying an extra couple of million dollars per season more but a good general manager — which is what Berry is — can navigate that no problem. What they can’t navigate is paying $40-million or more for a player who isn’t going to be able to lead the team where they want to go.
Piece of mind is something that cannot be quantified but Andrew Berry and the Browns are doing the right thing in making sure that they have that in Mayfield.