Baker Mayfield on his 5th Year Option & Browns Future Goals


(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Rob McBurnett

Director, Community & Corporate Communications

On the Browns picking up his fifth-year option and what it would mean to him if they are able to come to agreement on a long-term extension this offseason:

“First and foremost, that is one of those things that is not in my control, but I am truly thankful and grateful for them taking a chance – (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew (Berry) and the Haslam Family – for picking up that fifth-year option, making it one more year in Cleveland and extending this journey that we started three years ago today. Just saw something on that so I have been kind of thinking about that all day. I am very happy about that. In terms of long-term deals or all of that, I am taking it one day at a time. Still have two years, two seasons left on this full rookie contract now to see what happens.”

On if he has thought about a long-term extension with the Browns:

“I get asked about it a lot, but it is also one of those things that I trust wholeheartedly in the Mills family, my agents, and for them to handle that behind that scenes. Right now, it is about setting up the foundation for this upcoming season, continuing to build on what we left with last year and continuing to improve.”

On if he would prefer to secure a long-term extension with the Browns this offseason, particularly if QBs from his draft class like Bills QB Josh Allen and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson receive extensions this offseason:

“No, I hope the best for them. Whatever happens, happens, but it really is out of my control at this point. The fifth-year option just happened so a long-term deal is a little bit on the back burner for me. I am not worried about it. I want to go out and win games. I think everything happens for a reason so we will see what happens.”

On preparing for the 2021 season with a virtual offseason program and if members of the team plan to get together in-person this offseason:

“We all kind of came together and decided that opting out and doing the whole virtual offseason, just knowing that safety precautions but also what we were able to accomplish from all across the country last year installing a whole new system for everybody. We will see what happens. We will eventually get together and work on those things. Just working out, I know everybody is at a different pace in their offseason schedule right now, but it has been good to get on these virtual meetings and start to see these guys faces again and talk ball with them.”

On if he plans to host teammates in Austin like last offseason:

“I think everybody is kind of on different schedules when it comes in terms of vaccinations and everybody’s personal opinions. I do not think there is anything wrong with that. Yeah, we will eventually get together, there is no doubt about that. We are going to try to do everything that we can and do it as safely as possible, but we know we have to put the work in right now to start fast and hit the ground running come fall.”

On his readiness to deal with conversations the next few years around a long-term contract:

“If we win games, everything will happen how it should. That is my mentality, and I truly do believe that.”

On if he has been able to reflect and appreciate his first three years with the Browns, particularly last season:

“It has been obviously exciting the past week or so or seven days. Obviously (CB) Denzel (Ward) being picked right after me and getting his fifth-year option picked up, as well. That foundation and that work we had to put in. Obviously, had a lot of help along the way. It has been a rollercoaster of the past three years. I think that time that everybody in that building, a lot of new faces, but I think the time we put in for not just things on the field but culture-wise and setting a standard is finally coming into fruition to where you can start to see it and the bigger picture play out. That is why I am excited about the guys who we have coming back. This is the first time ever in my career that you have 11 guys who at one point started on this offense all coming back. I think that is truly pretty special. When it comes into terms of looking back three years ago to this day, a life-changing moment for me, my family, friends and being surrounded by a lot of teammates and lifelong friends now, I think it has been a good journey, but it is nowhere close to being done. I think that is the best part.”

On his reaction to the Browns’ defensive acquisitions this offseason, given he has personally reached out to many of them:

“I have been extremely impressed with the pieces that we are bringing in and reaching out to these guys to welcome them in with open arms to know that they are coming into a place that wants to win, inviting the guys who want to contribute and obviously are key essential pieces and will help us out a ton. Looking forward to it. Obviously, they have done a great job. It is an exciting week for us, as well. It is Draft week. As for the guys who are already on the team, we are doing these meetings. Everybody is working out and doing these things. It has a good feeling to it, but it is April for a reason. We are setting the expectations ourselves. Everybody can talk on the outside. I am excited about the people we have bought in just culture-wise.”

On tweeting earlier this offseason about seeing a UFO and if he believed in UFOs prior to that day:

“I am a firm believer in UFOs and Sasquatch. It is real. I saw it. I am glad the Navy finally confirmed some more pictures. Now everybody doesn’t think I am as crazy. I believe.”

On describing his experience seeing the UFO earlier this offseason:

“We were driving home from dinner. I don’t remember what day it was. Just driving back home and had the music going. It was one of those things [Emily] was looking down at her phone in the passenger seat. It was nighttime so when you are looking at your phone screen, everything is dark around you and you can only see that light, but it was bright enough to where it caught her attention, too. We kind of just looked at each other, ‘Did you just see that? Yeah.’ Other people in that area confirmed, too.”

On the significance of having offensive consistency entering this season, including with Coach Stefanski, Van Pelt, the system and returning starters:

“When it comes in terms of looking at teams that have been successful – not just teams, any business model or any organization – when it comes to continuity, everybody being on the same page and having the same goals, that is so important. For me going into it, this is the first time since having (former Oklahoma head football coach Bob) Stoops from 2015-2016 as the same head coach that it is the first time it has happened for me, and I am obviously looking forward to it and continuing to build on what we had started last year. Like I said, it is nowhere near being over. We were not satisfied when it came to just making it into the playoffs, winning one game and then losing in the next round. That is the great part about what we have coming back is everybody got a little taste of that and some guys who have made it further, everybody is hungry for more.”

On high expectations for the Browns entering 2021 after a successful 2020 season and if the team learned anything from 2019, when the team also had high expectations entering the year but finished with a 6-10 record:

“First, I would say just the culture, anything related to that and our whole team, it is nowhere near what it was, and that is a good thing. We have worked hard on setting a standard. When it comes to expectations and things that other people on the outside want to portray or predict, it is just that – it is people on the outside. Like I said, we will set our own expectations, and it is only April so we have to work for our ultimate goals and continue to put those pieces in and build those blocks for the long-term goal.”

On the significance of his great physical shape entering the 2020 season and his plan for this offseason to return in the same condition:

“Kevin, Alex Van Pelt and I, we were all kind of laughing because I came back in such good shape, they said I have to surpass that. He said I set the expectations too high (laughter). Plan on doing the same thing. I am still working out with the same trainer, CJ (McFarland) down in Austin. Doing these little things right, but just continuing to do all of the things necessary to take care of my body. Also, now, I am not just learning from scratch when it comes to this system so really making these next steps in details when it comes to our plays, schemes and truly having a grasp of our whole system.”

On statistics showing he had better success throwing to WRs other than WR Odell Beckham Jr. last season and if the conditions are in place for the two of them to elevate their connection this season:

“Absolutely, I think anytime you are going from Year 1 to Year 2 in the same system, you are going to make a tremendous jump, but I also think where we were before his injury happened on an underthrown ball by me that we truly did not have a true identity on offense at that point. I think that took our bye week right in the middle of the season last year to really sit down and do a self-scout and for us to grow. I have talked to Odell. He is very happy with where he is in the rehab process. I am happy for him. He looks good. He feels good. I am looking forward to starting where we should.”

On the narrative that the offense ‘took off as soon as Beckham got hurt’ and if the team’s and his improvement more specifically was the result of the unit getting more comfortable with the offense during the second half of the first year, and if he feels the team will be able to incorporate Beckham into where the offense finished the 2020 season:

“Yeah, absolutely. I told you guys last year during the season that when we had that bye week, we were able to truly sit down and kind of see what we were doing well and what we were not, and we were able to grow from there – timing wise, it was unfortunate when the injury happened – that is why you see the growth that we had from the first half to the second half of the year. I would not say it is because we are not throwing to him. You look at you take one person off, you still have 10 other guys who are on the field. It is not about that. The narrative can be what it is, but we are looking forward to getting back to work together.”

On the NFL Draft being in Cleveland this week and if he will be in town for the festivities:

“First, no, I will not be there. I will be back home watching it from afar. It is tremendous. Anything around the draft and the amount of people who it brings into the town and the city, that is so good for all of the businesses that have been hit so hard because of the pandemic. Hopefully, anybody who has gone through tough times gets a little bit of a break from people coming in to visit from out of town – obviously, doing it safely within the protocols. It is an exciting thing for Cleveland. The whole setup from the pictures I have seen so far, it looks amazing. I think it is going to be a special weekend for Clevelanders.”

On if he is in Berry’s ear about potentially adding another offensive weapon to the Browns, given the public attention is on the team improving on defense during the draft:

“I am not. I let him make those decisions. Whoever we add offensively or defensively, welcome them in with open arms, like I said about everybody else we have added with free agency. Set the standard, teach these guys the new system and roll with it.”

On if having success last year after entering the season in great physical shape motivates him to work just as hard this offseason:

“Even harder. The part about me and my competitiveness to never be satisfied, I think that is a huge reason why I am here today and why I am at this level of playing in the NFL. For me, it is continuing to harness that and work even harder because it is not over. I also think that everything I did last offseason, I kind of carried through a little bit of that throughout the year so I am able to start even more ahead of time and ahead of schedule this offseason. That is the best thing about it for me. I am not having to start over completely. Just continuing to build.”

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