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Andrew Berry: We have felt comfortable with Baker Mayfield for a long time

Mike Florio and Chris Simms draft the early Comeback Player of the Year candidates, including Matthew Stafford, Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott.

The Browns repeatedly have expressed confidence that they finally have found their franchise quarterback in Baker Mayfield. In fact, a recent report indicated they are so “ecstatic” about Mayfield that they have no interest in a trade for Aaron Rodgers if the Packers shop the reigning league MVP.

The Browns exercised the fifth-year option on the contracts of Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward earlier this month.

General Manager Andrew Berry joined the Ross Tucker Podcast on Wednesday and explained his faith in Mayfield.

“I’d like to say that it was a proactive statement, but it really just worked out that way,” Berry said, via a transcript from Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan. “We obviously felt comfortable with Baker, have felt comfortable with Baker for a long period of time as well as with Denzel Ward, who we also picked up [the option] on the same day.

“Baker, over the past year, has shown and enormous amount of growth, and I think that’s both on the field and then, quite honestly, off the field as well. So, we are excited. He’s going into his first offseason where the coaching staff, offensive system is exactly the same not to mention that there’s been very little turnover on the offensive side of the ball, and we’re excited about him continuing to make strides under Kevin [Stefansk]’s tutelage in this offense because we think he’s a very talented player. We think he’s very skilled, and he really embodies the characteristics that we want in our program. So, we’re excited about his potential this upcoming year and he’s been hard at work this entire offseason.”

Berry has big decisions to make and big deals to complete in the coming months. Running back Nick Chubb is entering the final year of his rookie deal in addition to Mayfield and Ward’s desires for long-term contracts.

Berry has expressed his admiration for Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman, who prioritizes extending young players’ contracts.

“I think it is fair to say that that is an approach that we believe in, in terms of identifying pillar guys and trying to retain them as soon as we can,” Berry told Tucker. “That being said, each situation truly is unique, but we do want to get into the habit of rewarding our own and identifying those guys [which is] no different than we did with Myles Garrett last year. We did that with Kareem Hunt last year. I think that is something you’ll se more often than not within our organization. With that being said it’s not a one size fits all approach. We will deal with it on an individual basis.”

The Eagles extended Carson Wentz’s deal in June of 2019. They traded him to the Colts this offseason. The Rams did the same with Jared Goff, signing him to a long-term deal in September in 2019, only to trade him to the Lions this offseason.

“I think it’s a bit too strong to call them cautionary tales, because I truly do believe each individual and then each individual’s situation based on the circumstances that are going on in their environment or their organization are different,” Berry told Tucker. “Obviously it’s something that we’re aware of and obviously I’m particularly aware of it with Carson, but I would be hesitant to overly extrapolate that and what happened with those two individuals for maybe broader implications moving forward. We’ll make the decisions that we think are appropriate with our guys based on the data that we have on hand.”