CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
In a move that doubled as a mere formality at this point, the Cleveland Browns picked up the fifth-year option on Baker Mayfield's rookie contract last week.
But while Mayfield had more than 18 million reasons to celebrate the Browns' decision, what everybody really wants to know regarding his contract status in Cleveland is what's next.
While Mayfield is now under contract with the Browns through 2022, he's also eligible to sign a long-term extension as early as this offseason. And fair or unfair, every day that passes without a deal leaves at least some question as to his long-term future in Cleveland -- although, that doesn't seem to bother Mayfield.
"[If we win games, everything will happen how it should," said Mayfield, who is entering his fourth season as the Browns' starting quarterback. "That's my mentality and I truly do believe that."
For further evidence, the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft doesn't need to look any further than this past season. Following a disappointing 2019 campaign, it was fair to question whether Cleveland would even be picking up the fifth-year option on Mayfield's rookie deal -- a notion that the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner didn't even dispute.
"There's no doubt Year 3 is always a big year in these contracts timing-wise, everybody knows that," Mayfield said last offseason. "I'm not putting added pressure on myself. If we win, things will take care of themselves."
At least as far as his fifth-year option is concerned, that they did. Helping lead the Browns to an 11-5 regular-season record -- their best since returning to the NFL in 1999 -- and first playoff victory since 1994, it was no longer a question of whether Cleveland would pick up Mayfield's fifth-year option, but when.
As for a potential long-term extension, that could be a little more complicated, with potential deals for Josh Allen in Buffalo and Lamar Jackson in Baltimore potentially affecting Mayfield's own contract. But as the 26-year-old signal-caller saw just last season, so long as Cleveland keeps winning, the cash will keep coming.
“I’m truly thankful for them taking the chance, [general manager] Andrew [Berry] and the Haslam family, for picking up that fifth-year option and making it one more year in Cleveland, extending this journey that we started three years ago today,” Mayfield said. "In terms of long-term deals or all that, I’m taking it one day at a time. I’ve still got two seasons left on this full rookie contract now to see what happens.”