Browns exercise QB Baker Mayfield's 5-year option

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns exercised the fifth-year option on quarterback Baker Mayfield’s rookie contract on Friday, an expected move after his strong 2020 season.

The team did the same with top cornerback Denzel Ward’s contract.

Mayfield had 30 touchdown passes last season and led the Browns to their first playoff appearance in nearly 20 years. Cleveland won its first postseason game since 1994, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild-card round before losing to Kansas City.

The team had until May 3 to exercise the option, which means Mayfield, who was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2018, is under contract for 2021 and 2022 — and those deals are guaranteed.

The Browns may soon discuss a long-term extension with Mayfield, who has shown major growth on and off the field during his three seasons with Cleveland, easing concerns last year about whether he was their long-term solution at QB.

Ward was drafted three picks after the Browns selected Mayfield three years ago. The former Ohio State standout has developed into one of the NFL’s better coverage cornerbacks. Ward, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, has seven interceptions in three seasons.

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