The Cleveland Browns have reportedly picked up the fifth-year options for quarterback Baker Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward.
General manager Andrew Berry had until the league-imposed deadline of May 3 to pick up the options, but with this being one of the easiest decisions of the offseason, it looks like Berry decided to get it off his desk while he focuses on next week’s NFL Draft.
We've exercised 5th-year contract options for @bakermayfield and @denzelward— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) April 23, 2021
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Mayfield’s option extends his rookie contract through the 2022 season and will pay him $18.86 million. Ward’s option extends him through the same time period and will pay him $13.294 million.
For the first time, fifth-year options are fully guaranteed.
Mayfield is coming off a season that saw him lead the Browns to the second round of the playoffs while thriving in his first year in head coach Kevin Stefanski’s offense. Mayfield threw for 26 touchdowns and completed 62.8 percent of his passes, but most importantly cut his interceptions down to eight after throwing 21 the year before (and 35 total in his first two seasons).
Ward has consistently shown the talent to be one of the league’s best cornerbacks, but he has struggled to stay on the field as he has missed four games in each of his three seasons in the league.
With the fifth-year options exercised, Berry will now likely get to work on the second contract for both Mayfield and Ward.
According to spotrac.com, Mayfield’s market value on an extension is a four-year deal worth $141 million, an average of $35.3 million a year. Ward’s market value is a four-year deal worth $74.23 million an average of $18.6 million a year.