Baker Mayfield will likely be a very, very wealthy man eventually. When that will happen is still anyone's guess, though. It remains a strong chance the former first-overall pick lands his contract extension with the Cleveland Browns at some point in 2021, but the timeline slides left or right depending upon with whom you speak. As it stands, the two sides have reportedly not had any substantive talks as training camp approaches, per Mary Cabot of Cleveland.com, and negotiations could reach into the regular season -- into October.
This is in contrast with what one of Mayfield's agents, Jack Mills, is speculating. Mills recently noted he expects a deal to be done this summer, making it clear he'd rather it get finalized much sooner than later.
"We're not going to be dragging it out," Mills said. "I think there's been enough contracts done for quarterbacks lately that give us a pretty good idea of what the market is. And, of course, we know that the [salary] cap isn't going up this year but it's going up next year and next. We pretty much know what's coming on down the road and what's been done.
"We don't have any particular reluctance about doing a deal. ... But I think something will be done this summer."
That said, he also isn't naive to the fact the NFL is a business.
"As far as trying to get a deal done, I don't know if it'll get done," he added. "It's something that would be pretty much in the team's control."
The Browns have been unequivocal thus far in publicly declaring their adoration for Mayfield as their QB of both now and into the horizon, having already exercised his fifth-year option that keeps him in Cleveland through the 2022 season. But the longer they wait to get a new deal done, the more it will inevitably cost them, and not simply due to a perennially rising market. It's also because with Dak Prescott having now secured his historic deal from the Dallas Cowboys, both Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson are on track to potentially blow past him as early as this summer with new deals from the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens, respectively.
Mayfield has been consistent in his production in his first three seasons and saw a significant improvement in his decision-making, going from a career-high 21 interceptions in 2019 to only eight last season. That drove his passer rating to a career-high mark of 95.9, and naming Kevin Stefanski as head coach in 2020 provided an instant spark alongside Mayfield.
The organization wants to keep that going for the long run, and Mayfield's agents are ready to talk yesterday.