Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield enters the fourth year of his career with a contract extension in his pocket, so naturally, everyone’s waiting to see when the former No. 1 overall pick will cement himself as the organization’s long-term starter.
The sense seems to be that Mayfield is playing chicken with peers Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen with the thinking being that whomever sings last, will get the most money.
Even so, the Mayfield contract extension–to every card-carrying member of the Dawg Pound–is a matter of when, not if, a deal gets done.
That’s why it was surprising to ready longtime columnist Tony Grossi wonder if there could be internal debate over whether or not to extend Mayfield, because Mayfield’s agent indicated his client would be fine signing first, as long as the Browns were ready to initiate.
"“The Browns could be having an internal debate between the analytics and football departments over the timing and value of a new contract for Mayfield, via TheLandonDemand.com.”"
Grossi’s comments come days after Mayfield was voted as a “Tier 3” quarterback by 50 NFL coaches and evaluators in an article on The Athletic, published by Mike Sando (subscription required).
The Tier 1 QBs included Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. Allen and Jackson were voted Tier 2 quarterbacks. Mayfield found himself behind Matt Stafford and second-year veteran Justin Herbert in the article, which amounted to a QB rankings column. He was one spot ahead of Kirk Cousins and one evaluator shockingly compared him to a “prime Andy Dalton.”
Crazy, because neither Stafford or Herbert haven’t won a big in their career. Dalton never won a playoff game. Mayfield went into Pittsburgh and smacked the Steelers in the head.
Still, you could see why Grossi would raise the question as the Browns enter camp without a deal.
The Athletic article seemed to give more credit to Stefanski, than Mayfield, meaning it’s the system, not the player that makes the difference. If it’s the system that’s responsible, then you plug and play anyone.
Browns fans know better, but here’s a quote from The Athletic article, anyway.
"“I don’t think they see [Mayfield] as being special in any category,” a former head coach said. “He is good enough because of what they do. Baker has more grit than Cousins, and he is going to play better in critical situations. He’s accurate, but not exceptional.”"
Stefanski deserves credit, but Mayfield really played with the “it” factor that makes him Baker Mayfield toward the end of the season. No question, the head coach stabilized the position, but Mayfield executed.
Plus, wins matter. I know analytics don’t give a rip about this stat, but beating Pittsburgh–even if was the JV–at the end of the season, and then in the Wild Card round of the playoffs matters. Trust me, Browns fans know a bad quarterback. We know Mayfield is good enough to win a Super Bowl and should be kept at all costs.
If Mayfield’s better than he was last season, then he’ll get his extension, and a lot more money to go along with it.