In the past week, two players with ties to Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield have received big extensions.
The first was his Browns teammate and fellow 2018 draft classmate Nick Chubb, who earned a three-year, $36.6 million extension that keeps him in Cleveland until at least 2024. The second, and definitely more significant, deal arrived two days ago to Josh Allen. The Buffalo Bills quarterback, who was selected No. 7 overall in the same draft in which Mayfield was taken first overall, inked a massive six-year, $258 million extension, just behind Patrick Mahomes in terms of per-year money for a quarterback.
Draftmates on his own team and at his position who've had success are getting their money, and yet with one month until the start of the 2021 season, the final year of his original rookie deal, Baker is still without his bread.
That Mayfield could enter the upcoming campaign without a long-term deal, though he appears to be the answer to a long-doomed question at quarterback in Cleveland, doesn't bother the signal-caller.
"I'm worried about winning. The rest will take care of itself," Mayfield told reporters Sunday, when asked about Allen's colossal contract, per NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala. "I don't have a timeline on it."
Mayfield has had a similar mindset all summer regarding his new deal, saying in late July, "Everything will play itself out." But now that the market has been set for quarterbacks from the 2018 class, things could finally start to play out.
Asked if he'd like Cleveland to now negotiate an extension with him before the start of the 2021 campaign, as Buffalo did with Allen, Mayfield responded, "I'm not doing the negotiation, so quite frankly, I don't give a damn."
Mayfield's negotiations, along with those of 2018 No. 32 pick Lamar Jackson, are directly affected by the Allen contract, which pays the Bills QB an average of $43 million per year over those six seasons and guarantees him a record $100 million at signing. Unlike Allen and Jackson, however, Mayfield has not yet put up an MVP-caliber season; Jackson won the 2019 MVP, and Allen finished second in voting to Aaron Rodgers last season. So Allen's deal may not be a jumping-off point for Mayfield at this juncture of his career, but a higher plane.
If Mayfield and the Browns want to strike an extension in the month before they open up against Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, then it's likely the QB's deal will come in below that of Allen's. But the two can always take it into the season and potentially into the 2022 offseason, ahead of Mayfield's contract year. That decision could be considered a risk, but might also be more clarifying.
There's no denying that Mayfield is the Browns' franchise quarterback -- who else has led Cleveland to a winning record and a postseason berth in the last two decades? Whether he'll be paid like one of the top five young signal-callers remains a question, one about which, my dear, Mayfield frankly doesn't give a damn.