There are, to some extent, questions facing every starting quarterback in the AFC North right now. For Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s how do you lower his cap hit, and are you asking for a pay cut? With Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals, it’s a matter of rehabbing a serious knee injury and working to build toward a successful foundation.
Then there are the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns, both of whom took a quarterback in the first round in 2018 and had those quarterbacks lead them to a postseason victory in 2020. The fifth-year option is due for both of them, but this is generally a time when teams who know they have a franchise quarterback get a long-term deal done.
So will the Browns be getting one done for Mayfield? After posting 26 touchdowns to eight interceptions last season, there is reason to believe he will continue to grow as he enters year two of Kevin Stefanski’s system, after having constant turnover surround him in his first three years.
This is a question for general manager Andrew Berry, who happened to be with the Philadelphia Eagles not so long ago and dealt with the sizable contract of Carson Wentz that the Eagles just decided they had to get out from underneath of.
“I don’t know that, with respect to anything that’s happened with any of the other 31 teams, that has a major bearing on how we’re going to address the quarterback situation here”, he told reporters if he would be looking to examples like Wentz and Jared Goff when weighing his options with Mayfield this offseason
“To me, we’ll evaluate that internally and make a decision that we think is best for our team and our organization”, he continued. “So I think it would be maybe 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 that we have”.
Mayfield went 6-7 as a rookie starter in 2018, setting an NFL rookie record for touchdown passes, and generally showing a brighter future. But the team regressed as a whole the following year, finishing 6-10, and he had a 22-21 touchdown-to-interception ratio.