BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Along with everything else, Baker Mayfield is practicing patience this summer.
The Cleveland Browns quarterback, whose strong 2020 season seemingly ended any debate about whether he can lead the franchise in the long term, said Wednesday that he’s in no rush to get a contract extension.
“I’m just trying to win games,” Mayfield said before practice. “It’ll handle itself.”
Mayfield’s fifth-year contract option worth $18.8 million was picked up in April by the Browns, who are now considering whether to lock him up beyond the 2022 season.
The team has several other long-term deals to consider, with star running back Nick Chubb, cornerback Denzel Ward and guard Wyatt Teller all eligible for extensions.
Mayfield bounced back from a shaky second year in the NFL by leading the Browns last season to their first playoff appearance since 2003. He found his groove after Cleveland’s bye week and finished with 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions in the regular season.
In the wild-card game, Mayfield threw three TD passes as the Browns stunned the rival Pittsburgh Steelers for their first playoff win since 1994.
Expectations are even higher in Cleveland this season, and Mayfield said he’s not going to allow his future — or the Browns’ plans — to become a distraction. He’s letting agents Jack and Tom Mills handle his business.
“I don’t try and feed too much into that because that’s wasting my time and energy and thought process on stuff that I’m not in control of right now,” Mayfield said. “So I’m going to handle what I can control.”
Mayfield was asked if he was convinced something will be worked out this summer, if an extension is just a matter of time.
“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “I think the chips will fall where they’re supposed to. I’m concerned about winning and that’s what everybody in this building needs to be concerned about.
“That’s not saying that anybody is not, but the concern right now is winning and building a strong foundation for the season.”
Browns Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio said Mayfield’s performance last season ended any doubt about whether he’s a franchise QB.
“Since he’s been here, I’ve always thought very highly of him,” Bitonio said. “He’s always been a great teammate to me and what he’s shown on the football field — the positives far outweigh the negatives. I think he’ll just continue to take those steps and continue to improve.
“It’s a big year for us and a big year for him, but I know he’s looking forward to it and that’s kind of what he lives for those big moments, so we’re getting ready to roll.”