In a year in which the quarterback carousel is spinning at an accelerated rate, the Cleveland Browns, who usually go through QBs like remotes eat up batteries, are glad they’ve found one to hang on to for the long term finally.
Browns general manager Andrew Berry expressed his belief that Baker Mayfield has proven he can take his game to the next level and stabilize a franchise that has been in constant turnover.
“The quarterback position is in my mind the most important position in professional sports,” Berry said Wednesday, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “And until you have a baseline of winning-level quarterback play, it’s really difficult to win and make progress in the NFL, and oftentimes if that position isn’t productive or isn’t solidified, it can feel a lot like operating in neutral.
“That’s something that’s certainly not lost on us and it’s definitely not lost on us as an organization.”
There were some rough patches, particularly in 2019, but the Browns believe that getting their first playoff win in seemingly eons shows Mayfield is the man for the long-haul.
Entering his fourth season, Mayfield and the Browns sit at what has become a crossroads for clubs. Many extend massive extensions, while others roll with the fifth-year option and then have the franchise tag at their disposal. The Browns have until May 3 to exercise the fifth-year option, which is guaranteed for injury only.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams came to regret the big-money deals they handed to Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, respectively, which led to the largest dead-money salary cap hits when both were traded this offseason.
Berry noted that he wouldn’t use the Wentz situation and the subsequent $33.8 million dead money to inform his decision on Mayfield.
“I don’t know that anything that has happened to any of the other 31 teams has a major bearing, in terms of how we are going to address the quarterback situation here,” Berry said. “To me, we’ll evaluate that internally and make a decision we think is best for our team and our organization. I think it would maybe be a stretch to say that’s going to serve as a cautionary tale or any type of blueprint for us. We’ll make the best decision for us with the information we have.”
Whether or not the Browns hand Baker a massive new extension, Berry expects the QB to make another leap in 2021.
“Like all of our players, we want to see him take strides and show growth as we go into year two within our offensive and defensive systems,” Berry said. “Baker is the first quarterback in — you guys probably know the years more than I do — that’s led this team to the playoffs and a playoff victory.
“He’s endured an enormous amount of adversity in his young career just quite honestly with the changes that he’s gone through with the coaching staffs, front offices, offensive systems, and he’s risen above it all. And so I think we all saw him grow from week to week to week last year and we expect him to continue that progress and have a fantastic 2021 season for us.”
As for Mayfield, he’s having an interesting offseason already:
Almost 100%, Em and I just saw a UFO drop straight out of the sky on our way home from dinner… we stopped and looked at each other and asked if either of us saw it… Very bright ball of light going straight down out of the sky towards Lake Travis. Anybody else witness this?
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