Browns QB Mayfield in ‘no rush’ with contract extension

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is leaving any potential contract extension to his agents as he looks to build on his strong 2020 campaign.

Last Updated: 17/06/21 10:29am

Baker Mayfield is entering his second season in Kevin Stefanski's offense. (AP)

Baker Mayfield is entering his second season in Kevin Stefanski’s offense. (AP)

Along with everything else, Baker Mayfield is practising patience this summer.

The Cleveland Browns quarterback, whose strong 2020 season seemingly ended any debate about whether he can lead the franchise over the long term, said Wednesday that he’s in no rush to get a contract extension.

“I’m just trying to win games, Mayfield said before practice. “It’ll handle itself.”

Mayfield’s fifth-year contract option worth $18.8m was picked up in April by the Browns, who are now considering whether to lock him up beyond the 2022 season.

The team has several other long-term deals to consider, with star running back Nick Chubb, cornerback Denzel Ward and guard Wyatt Teller all eligible for extensions.

Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield starred as the Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers for their first win in the playoffs since 1994.

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Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield starred as the Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers for their first win in the playoffs since 1994.

Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield starred as the Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers for their first win in the playoffs since 1994.

Mayfield bounced back from a shaky second year in the NFL by leading the Browns last season to their first playoff appearance since 2003. He found his groove after Cleveland’s bye week and finished with 26 touchdown passes and eight interceptions in the regular season.

In the Wild Card game, Mayfield threw three TD passes as the Browns stunned the rival Pittsburgh Steelers for their first playoff win since 1994.

Expectations are even higher in Cleveland this season, and Mayfield said he’s not going to allow his future or the Browns’ plans to become a distraction. He’s letting agents Jack and Tom Mills handle his business.

“I don’t try and feed too much into that because that’s wasting my time and energy and thought process on stuff that I’m not in control of right now,” Mayfield said. “So I’m going to handle what I can control.”

The Browns chose Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick in 2018, and followed the selection by taking Ward at No. 4 and Chubb at 35. Mayfield would love for the trio to stay linked for a long time.

“Obviously those guys are tremendous team-mates, all coming in here together around the same time,” Mayfield said. “That’d be very special. But that’s one of those things, I think everything happens for a reason and it will handle itself. Just worried about winning.”

The best of the action as the Cleveland Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37 on Sunday in the NFL Wild Card Round at Heinz Field.

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The best of the action as the Cleveland Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37 on Sunday in the NFL Wild Card Round at Heinz Field.

The best of the action as the Cleveland Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37 on Sunday in the NFL Wild Card Round at Heinz Field.

With Ravens star QB Lamar Jackson (MVP in 2019) and Bills Pro Bowl starter Josh Allen also eligible for extensions, it will be interesting to see which team signs its quarterback first and perhaps sets the bar for the others.

Mayfield insists he’s not focused on the timing of a possible deal or what Jackson or Allen might get.

“I have bet on myself my whole life,” he said. “I have always taken it one day at a time and one play at a time. I am not going to handle it any differently now.”

For the first time since joining the Browns, Mayfield has continuity.

He’s in his second season with coach Kevin Stefanski, his third coach in four seasons, so he’s not having to learn a new playbook, and the pair have established a working relationship that’s still growing.

Mayfield did not attend the Browns’ recent voluntary workouts, choosing to work out on his own with Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry and others at home in Austin, Texas. But after two minicamp practices, Stefanski has been impressed.

Highlights of the Cleveland Browns against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round.

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Highlights of the Cleveland Browns against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round.

Highlights of the Cleveland Browns against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round.

“He’s throwing the ball really well,” Stefanski said after Wednesday’s workout. “Anytime for any player when you have comfort in what you’re doing, you can cut it loose, and specifically in Bakers case, I think that is true.

“Year two in this system for Baker, you hope that there’s a comfort level where his play happens fast, the processing happens fast.”

Mayfield was asked if he was convinced something will be worked out this summer, if an extension is just a matter of time.

“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “I think the chips will fall where they’re supposed to. I’m concerned about winning and that’s what everybody in this building needs to be concerned about.

“That’s not saying that anybody is not, but the concern right now is winning and building a strong foundation for the season.”

Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio said Mayfield’s performance last season ended any doubt about whether he’s a franchise QB.

“Since he’s been here, I’ve always thought very highly of him,” Bitonio said. “He’s always been a great teammate to me and what he’s shown on the football field the positives far outweigh the negatives. I think he’ll just continue to take those steps and continue to improve.”

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