Browns general manager Andrew Berry does not want to publicly discuss Baker Mayfield's contract situation. But while those conversions will stay in-house, Berry's comments about Mayfield's 2020 season appear to indicate that the former No. 1 overall pick is part of the franchise's long-term plans. Mayfield is entering the final year of his rookie contract. The Browns can either pick up his fifth-year option or sign him to an extension this offseason.
Following a rocky 2019 season, Mayfield led the Browns to an 11-5 regular season record as well as the franchise's first playoff berth since 2002. He threw three touchdown passes in the Browns' wild-card playoff victory over the Steelers. Mayfield then led the Browns back from a 22-3 deficit before falling to the Chiefs in the division round, 22-17.
"He did an excellent job this year," Berry said on Wednesday, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. "He led us to our first playoff appearance in eons. He got 12 wins, played winning football all year. Developed a really strong relationship with Kevin [Stefanski] and the offensive staff. But really, he really grew before our eyes on a weekly basis, both on and off the field.
"We're very, very pleased with him. We wouldn't be where we were at the end of the season without his performance. He had a really strong season."
While the Browns and his agents will begin discussing his contractural future, Mayfield is hoping to get Cleveland back in position to contend for a Super Bowl in 2021. Despite several injuries that included losing receiver Odell Beckham in Week 7, Mayfield, playing under Stefanski's offensive system for the first time, threw 30 touchdowns against just nine interceptions. Mayfield led an offense that finished third in the NFL in rushing and red zone efficiency and seventh in third down efficiency.
"It sucks because so many people have sacrificed so much during this process and this very strange season and overcome adversity," Mayfield said on Sunday, via ESPN's Jake Trotter. "But trying to find the positive out of it, we're setting a new standard here. Everybody was saying it in the locker room. … That we will be back."
While Mayfield is signed through the 2021 season, the Browns have several soon-to-be free agents that include defensive end Olivier Vernon, cornerbacks Kevin Johnson and Terrance Mitchell, safety Karl Joseph, receiver Rashard Higgins and left tackle Kendall Lamm. Several of these players are included in CBS Sports writer Josh Edwards' story detailing what the Browns should do during the '21 offseason.