Buffalo Got The Ball Rolling

With Friday’s announcement of Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s six year, $258 million contract extension, all eyes now turn to the Browns and the Ravens. Who will be next, Baker Mayfield or Lamar Jackson? Since I really don’t care if and when Jackson signs an extension, the real question is what does the Allen extension mean for Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield? Do the Browns get a deal done now, wait till the season starts or wait till prior to the 2022 season? More on that later. The way Josh Allen’s deal is structured, the Bills have an out after the 2025 season where Allen’s cap hit is $ 8.4 million and the cap savings are $38.5 million. In 2027 and 2028 there is no cap hit and the salary cap savings are $40 million in 2027 and $41.550 million in 2028. This protects the Bills if things don’t work out in the long run. By contrast, according to https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/buffalo-bills/josh-allen-25102/, “In 2021, Allen will earn a base salary of $920,000, a signing bonus of $16,500,000 and a roster bonus of $2,618,596, while carrying a cap hit of $10,210,057 and a dead cap value of $103,410,057.” Up front money.

So what does this all mean for the Browns and Baker Mayfield? First of all Allen’s six year extension is the second longest extension signed by a quarterback. Chief’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes signed a ten year extension. On average, quarterbacks sign four year extensions. Recent examples are Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and Dak Prescott. If I had to take a guess, I think the Browns would go with a four year deal. The last two big extensions the Browns negotiated were for Myles Garrett and Nick Chubb. Garrett signed a five year deal while other defensive linemen like J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald signed six year deals. Chubb signed a three year deal while other running backs like Derrick Henry and Joe Mixon signed five year deals and Alvin Kamara signed a four year deal. Signing players to shorter deals allow the player to receive another big contract and the Browns seem to prefer that route.

In an article written by Jack Duffin @JackDuffin, a proposed four year deal for Mayfield would look like this:

“If Baker gets a four-year deal then the Browns can likely reduce his average per year down from Josh Allen’s $43 million to somewhere in the $41-42 million range. This is because he will get back to free agency much quicker forcing an early extension and making more money in the long run.”

“In terms of total guarantees, we will see the first three years of the deal effectively guaranteed for Baker. In terms of guarantees at the time of signing, Prescott got $90 million and Allen got $100 million. This is a number that Baker’s team will try to match. It will certainly come out ahead of Prescott’s.”

According to Duffin, a $41 million per year contract would be $164 million total with $152.5 in total guarantees and $102.5 million guaranteed at signing. If the Browns sign Mayfield to this kind of extension, I have no complaints and it makes perfect sense. But if you look at the deals Garrett and Chubb signed, both appeared to be player and team friendly. The word bargain was used extensively for both. Based on the history of the current Browns front office, I’m guessing the Browns will sign Mayfield to a four year deal worth an average of $39 million per year, a total of $156 million, with $75 million fully guaranteed and a $30 million signing bonus. This extension is similar to what Deshaun Watson signed right before the 2020 season started and after Patrick Mahomes signed his extension in July of 2020. In the NFL history tends to repeat itself, so I could see Mayfield’s extension getting done prior to the 2021 season starting. The ball is now in the Browns and GM Andrew Berry’s court.

 

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