The Cleveland Browns avoided a holdout with No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield, inking the rookie to a four-year, $32.68 million contract, including a $21.85 million signing bonus and fifth-year team option, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The #Browns have agreed to terms with QB Baker Mayfield, source said. The No. 1 pick has a 4-year deal. He gets $32.68M fully guaranteed with a 21.85M signing bonus.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 25, 2018
The contract includes offset language, meaning the Browns will not be on the hook for Mayfield’s guaranteed salary should they release him and he signs with another team, per the Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot.
Mayfield was promoted to the Browns’ second-team offense during summer organized team activities, but he heads into training camp as a clear backup to recently acquired quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Head coach Hue Jackson has maintained a hard-line stance on Mayfield’s prospects for earning the team’s starting quarterback job.
“I’m not going to back off of this,” coach Hue Jackson said during rookie minicamp. “We can keep writing this narrative. Tyrod Taylor’s the starting quarterback of this football team, and that won’t change.”
Jackson is obviously skeptical after trotting out rookies DeShone Kizer and Cody Kessler well before they were ready to lead an NFL offense in each of the last two seasons.
With Taylor slotted to begin, and presumably finish the season, there is little pressure on Mayfield to get onto the field and become a leader in his rookie season. But Mayfield is a competitor, and as the team’s primary backup—especially in Cleveland, and especially given Jackson’s propensity to flip-flop on his quarterback choices—he must be ready at all times to take the field and lead the Browns offense.
Mayfield is aware of this and is heading into training camp with the mindset that he has to be ready to play if called on.
“I wasn’t brought here to just start, I was brought here to help turn this thing around,” Mayfield said during a rookie minicamp press conference. “Whatever my role is that’s what I need to do.
“Whether that’s playing scout team, or being the best backup possible, or playing. For me, I’m not worried about that, I need to be prepared for when I do get my shot to be ready to play.”
Mayfield now has no more hurdles to clear other than reporting to camp and letting it fly.
We’ll see what role the Browns have in store for him after the young quarterback has a chance to show his progress in front of his coaches, and eventually to the world in the team’s upcoming preseason games.