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Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns freed Odell Beckham Jr., perhaps gladly. But the Browns still have yet to discuss a contract with Mayfield, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
This is news because Mayfield is due for an extension, and the Browns have already given those to a couple of guys who block for him, offensive linemen Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller.
Granted, Mayfield is signed through 2022 and due to make $18.5 million next season. So as Cabot noted, there’s still time to work out a deal. Bitonio, for one, sounds like a man who would like to see it happen.
“Of course,” Bitonio said, via Cabot. “I think he’s shown a lot. From day one, before he even got drafted by the Cleveland Browns, he said, ‘I want to go to Cleveland. I want to help turn that around.’ Having that mentality, the toughness he plays with, the savvy he plays with and the ability he shows when he plays football, I think he’s the right guy for the job.”
Bitonio added he would “love to see” Mayfield and the Browns come to a deal sooner rather than later.
“But I didn’t even know about my contract until a few days ago,” Bitonio said. “It’s a lot. I know we are in-season right now, and the team is really starting to focus in on going 1-0 this week. He’s our guy, and we love Bake, his personality and his ability. He is someone who I think people rally around.”
Mayfield, 26, has typically been a better QB without Beckham, and some say that was because Beckham rarely focused on finishing his routes. With Beckham, Mayfield rarely threw downfield.
But he hit Beckham’s replacement, Donovan Peoples-Jones, for a 60-yard scoring strike on the Browns’ second possession in their route of the Cincinnati Bengals. It all happened in the first game after OBJ had been released.
For now, though, the Browns are likely in wait-and-see mode. They may not want to pay Mayfield more than $30 million per year at the moment. He may be seeking $40 million per. It’s understandable if the Browns want Mayfield to prove to them that, yes, he will be worth it.