Who's in line for an extension? Browns' Baker Mayfield could be next young QB to get deal

Richard Morin
USA TODAY Sports Plus

Baker Mayfield may be the next NFL quarterback lined up for a massive payday.

Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) after the 2022 season unless the Cleveland Browns step in and extend him.

The Browns, after an extended stretch of poor football, are on the rise. Instead of hoping for an advantageous draft position, Cleveland is now focused on extending its young core, which includes star CB Denzel Ward and RB Nick Chubb, into the future.

"Those guys are great teammates," Mayfield told reporters this summer. "Obviously we all came in here around the same time. It would be very special but I think everything happens for a reason and it'll handle itself."

Still, chief among that core group is Mayfield, who will make less than $1 million this season in base salary.

Mayfield, 26, told the Akron Beacon Journal in June that he's in "no rush" to sign a contract extension and that he's a "great match" with Cleveland, but there have been rumblings that a new deal could be ironed out this summer.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws during a June 2021 practice. Could a big extension be in his future?

MORE:Mayfield in 'no rush' to sign contract extension

ANALYSIS:In line for contract extension, Mayfield may benefit from patient approach

NFL quarterbacks on rookie deals are undoubtedly privy to Dak Prescott's new extension with the Dallas Cowboys and Josh Allen's fresh deal with the Buffalo Bills.

Mayfield is not too far off from Prescott, a 2016 draft choice, in terms of career trajectory through three NFL seasons. The biggest question may be whether the Browns elect to wait as long to sign Mayfield as the Cowboys did to sign Prescott (4 years, $160 million).

And then there's Allen — also a 2018 draft pick — who inked a massive six-year, $258 million deal this preseason. 

"I'm just trying to win games," Mayfield said when asked about contract discussions. "I don't try to read too much into that and it's something I'm not in control of right now. I'm just going to control what I can control."

Could his deal eclipse the contract signed by Prescott? Could he come close to the $150 million in guaranteed money promised to Allen?

Here are some other NFL quarterbacks who could also be due for a contract extension in the near future:

1. Lamar Jackson, Ravens

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) passes the ball during an OTA at Under Armour Performance Center.

Jackson, the only member of the 2018 draft class who has won an MVP, has as strong a case for getting a contract extension as anyone.

Granted, Jackson was not quite as effective in 2020 as he was in his 2019 MVP-winning campaign with the Baltimore Ravens. He finished with 10 fewer touchdowns and saw his QB rating drop from 113.3 in 2019 to 99.3 in 2020.

Still, Jackson is one of the NFL's top quarterbacks and will be due for a new deal after 2022. Will he be the first on this list to put pen to paper? 

GO DEEPER:Jackson avoids money talk. He's all about mechanics and the deep ball.

2. Kyler Murray, Cardinals

Yes, Murray won't be in his extension window for a bit, but he's certainly on the shortlist for players from the 2019 class in line for big money.

Murray will be entering his third season with the Arizona Cardinals under offensive guru Kliff Kingsbury, and he is highly regarded for his elite athletic ability and playmaking ability under pressure.

The former No. 1 overall pick significantly improved from Year 1 to Year 2 and is considered by some to be a dark-horse MVP candidate this year. A few years down the line, Murray could be in store for a massive contract.

3. Joe Burrow, Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throws a pass during practice at Paul Brown Stadium on May 25.

The top overall pick in 20202, Burrow is still a long way from a possible contract extension but is trending toward a deal sometime in the future.

Burrow played in just 10 games as a rookie last season but showed great promise. Still, the Cincinnati Bengals have a great bit of rebuilding to do before they can think about massive contract extensions for their quarterback.

At any rate, Burrow is certainly worth putting on a long-term extension watch given his draft position and for his production in the limited action we saw from him in 2020.

4. Justin Herbert, Chargers

For as much as Burrow deserves a spot on this list given that he was the first overall pick, Herbert might be the top quarterback from the 2020 draft class.

Herbert made 15 starts for the Los Angeles Chargers last year and completed 66.6% of his passes throughout his rookie campaign. He finished with a QB rating of nearly 100 and was named the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The University of Oregon product surprised many during the 2020 season and firmly cemented his status as one of the top young quarterbacks in the AFC.

5. Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars

Lawrence hasn't even played a game in the NFL yet — he was the top overall pick in the 2021 draft — but it's hard not to think about the kind of money that could be coming his way should he live up to the massive hype.

Lawrence, who stands 6-foo-6 and weighs 220 pounds, is one of the most well-regarded amateur quarterbacks in recent memory after a stellar collegiate run at Clemson. 

The ink is still dry on Lawrence's rookie contract, which is worth $36.8 million over four years. How much could Lawrence make in his next deal? We won't know for a while, but the sky seems to be the limit.