The Browns and quarterback Baker Mayfield worked out his four-year rookie deal, a contract that doesn’t include many topics on which the two sides could have negotiated. On one of the most important points for bargaining — offset language — the Browns secured a victory.
Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the fully-guaranteed deal includes offset language. This means that, if Mayfield is cut at some point over the next four years, he won’t be able to keep the balance of his Browns deal plus whatever he makes from a new NFL team.
Cabot reports that Mayfield and his family urged Mayfield’s agents, Jack and Tom Mills, to accept the inclusion of offset language in the contract, so that Mayfield wouldn’t miss practice time.
Mayfield’s supreme confidence likely causes him to think it’s inconceivable (the non-Princess Bride version of the term) that he’d be released at any point in the next four years. However, none of the other four first-round quarterbacks drafted by the Browns since the team returned to the league after the original Browns moved to Baltimore survived in Cleveland for the full length of their rookie deals.
Starting with Tim Couch in 1999 and continuing with Brady Quinn in 2008, Brandon Weeden in 2012, and Johnny Manziel in 2014, the Browns cut each of them prematurely. The Browns released both Weeden and Manziel after only two seasons.
In return for caving on the offset term, Mayfield quite possibly received favorable cash flow as to his signing bonus, like No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley obtained from the Giants. Regardless, if the worst-case scenario happens for Mayfield in Cleveland, he won’t be double-dipping as to any of his $32.68 million from the Browns.