Report: Browns still willing to pay Baker Mayfield more than $30 million a year

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The Cleveland Browns were without QB Baker Mayfield for their Thursday Night Football victory over the Denver Broncos. Based on his fractured bone, the team may be without him for a few more games in 2021. Based on his torn labrum, Mayfield will likely need offseason surgery which could require 4 to 6 months of rehab.

Those are the most immediate concerns for Mayfield and the Browns but long-term concerns also linger. After picking up his fifth-year option, Cleveland has the former #1 overall pick under contract for the 2022 season but extension talks have not brought about an extension at this time.

It is rare for a team to allow a quarterback that they believe is their future to go into a season with only one year left on their deal. It has happened in the last few seasons with Kirk Cousins and Dak Prescott but it is more the exception.

With fellow 2018 draft classmate Josh Allen getting an extension earlier this offseason, all eyes turned to Lamar Jackson and Mayfield. Jackson does not have an agent and, also, hasn’t signed an extension with the Baltimore Ravens. His MVP season and the Ravens building their offense around him make a long-term deal more certain for him.

Mayfield’s injury and hot-and-cold performance have led to more questions than certainty about his future.

According to a report (subscriber, $) by ESPN’s Dan Graziano, Cleveland is still willing to offer Mayfield a big deal:

I still think — actually, I know — that the Browns would bring Mayfield back for the right price. I don’t think they want to pay him at Patrick Mahomes/Josh Allen levels, but they believe they can win with him and would pay him in the mid-to-high $30 millions per year to stick around.

The “I know” makes his statement more of a report than speculation.

Russell Wilson currently makes $35 million a year with only four quarterbacks (Mahomes, Allen, Prescott and Deshaun Watson) averaging more than that per season. Based on Graziano’s report, Cleveland is willing to make Mayfield a top-five paid quarterback on a per-season average.

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