The NFL world was set abuzz on Friday with the news that the Buffalo Bills had agreed to a contract extension with quarterback Josh Allen that included a staggering $150 million in guaranteed money.
That, in turn, led to the inevitable talk about what the Cleveland Browns will do with quarterback Baker Mayfield who, like Allen, was drafted in 2018 and is now eligible for a contract extension of his own.
By now, most Browns fans are familiar with the various talking points surrounding a new deal for Mayfield:
- The Browns have to sign Mayfield now before the price goes up again.
- The Browns should “wait and see” what Mayfield does this upcoming season before they commit to a second contract with him.
- The Browns have to be “cautious” with Mayfield because the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles screwed up by giving extensions to average quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.
Oddly enough, those same talking points never seem to have been applied to Allen and the Bills. Apparently, those cautionary tales of squandering precious cap dollars on a quarterback are only needed when the discussion is focused on Mayfield.
That is an interesting position to take, especially when you stack up Allen and Mayfield side by side for a statistical comparison (h/t to Mitchell Fink):
- Josh Allen in the regular season: 61.8 completion percentage, 9,707 yards, 67 touchdown passes, 31 interceptions, 92 sacks, 31 fumbles and a quarterback rating of 90.4.
- Baker Mayfield in the regular season: 61.9 percent completion percentage, 11,115 yards, 75 touchdowns, 43 interceptions, 91 sacks, 21 fumbles and a quarterback rating of 89.1.
Let’s take it a step further and look at their respective playoff numbers:
- Allen: 60.8 completion percentage, five touchdowns, one interception, 11 sacks, four fumbles and a quarterback rating of 87.4
- Mayfield: 62 completion percentage, four touchdowns, one interception, one sack, no fumbles and a quarterback rating of 94.
Taking a look at those numbers it is hard to see why the Bills made “the right move” by securing Allen but there is still a loud uproar over how the Browns need to be overly cautious to avoid screwing things up like the Rams and Eagles.
If you were to simply take their names off and just present someone with the stats, there would simply be no argument.
While the Browns and Mayfield’s representatives have reportedly not had any “substantive talks” about an extension, ever since the end of the 2020 season it has always been a case of when, not if, the two sides reach an agreement.
The man responsible for getting that done, at least on the side of the Browns, is general manager Andrew Berry, who was asked about the situation on Friday afternoon during an appearance with ESPN Cleveland.
As usual, Berry is not publicly sweating the details (quotes via USA Today):
“I think for really any player or any positional market, we’re always aware of the deals that have been done over the past couple years and certainly any deals that come up over the next couple weeks because we realize that impacts the market to some degree. But at the same time with any player that we’re considering extending, we really deal with it on a case-by-case and individual level. We really operate within the parameters that we think make sense for our organization and our team, and that’s what we’ll continue to do really across positions.”
Mayfield is going to get paid by the Browns at some point. While Allen’s extension may have moved the price tag a bit, it doesn’t change the situation between the Browns and Mayfield. A deal will get done, the numbers thrown around will be a bit absurd, and some people will continue to criticize Mayfield no matter what he accomplishes on the field.
Of course, those people will be wrong about Mayfield the way they have been wrong about him ever since he entered the league.