It’s just going to get more expensive
The better Baker Mayfield plays, the more expensive it’s going to get to retain him. That’s common sense. The more valuable something is, the higher the price for it. Mayfield has proven to be good enough to get the Browns to the playoffs and win once there. That’s a fact, he’s done that. What happens if you don’t re-sign him in 2020 and the team actually wins the Super Bowl to close out the 2021 season?
Talk about a huge payday, especially if he outplays others on his way to a title. Heck, even if they just go back to the playoffs and Mayfield goes to the Pro Bowl, or sets a few franchise records or wins an award or several; all that will all raise his value.
Sure, you can hedge your bets, hope he slightly underperforms, and offer him a slightly less valuable deal but that would just be an insult to him and wouldn’t really go anywhere. Quarterbacks get paid in the modern-day NFL, and even if you think you can save a million dollars or so here or there, all you’re really doing is playing chicken. Mayfield is going to get an offer from the Browns, why delay the inevitable.
Offer him a deal just under what Jared Goff got and call it a day.