It has been an impactful offseason for the Cleveland Browns.
They’ve revamped their defense and recently extended one of their main pieces.
The Browns and running back Nick Chubb agreed on a massive $36.6 million extension.
The #Browns and RB Nick Chubb have an agreement in principle on a 3-year contract extension worth $36.6M, per sources. $20M fully guaranteed. A huge deal for the bell cow in Cleveland. 💰 💰 💰
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 31, 2021
A well-deserved payday for the workhorse back in Cleveland.
Now it’s time to figure out which of the remaining Browns’ players are in line to get paid next.
Cleveland has a handful of players who are deserving of getting paid, so they might need to make some tough decisions soon.
6. WR Rashard Higgins
One of the underrated heroes from last season was wide receiver Rashard Higgins.
The five-year wideout decided to stay in Cleveland last year despite interest from other organizations.
He wanted to win in Cleveland and bet on himself and it paid off for Higgins.
The organization rewarded him with a new one-year deal for the 2021 season.
#Browns WR Rashard Higgins is expected to sign back with Cleveland on a 1-year deal, source said. The player they call Hollywood returns after 37 catches and 599 yards in 2020.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2021
Now, Higgins is set to be a free agent again after the 2021 campaign.
He was a key part of the Browns offense after Odell Beckham Jr. went down mid-season last year.
Despite that, the Browns have not decided to reward Higgins with a multi-year deal.
He recorded 37 receptions, 599 yards, and four touchdowns in 13 games last season.
Higgins is a nice option as a No. 3 or 4 wideout, but doesn’t appear to be a main priority for the organization right now.
5. LG Joel Bitonio
The Browns already gave left guard Joel Bitonio one massive extension.
He signed a six-year deal worth $51 million that expires after the 2022 season.
That gives Cleveland roughly two years to negotiate a new deal with Bitonio.
The 29-year-old has done nothing but succeed since joining the Browns roster.
Bitonio has made three straight Pro Bowls and hasn’t missed a game in four seasons.
The former second-round pick has been well worth his contract and is deserving of a new deal.
Luckily, Cleveland has until 2023 to figure out if they want to extend their leader on the offensive line.
4. RG Wyatt Teller
Another big story surrounding the Browns has been the possibility of a Wyatt Teller extension.
Last season, everyone saw the right guard come out of nowhere and look like a Pro Bowl player.
The former fifth-round pick was graded near the top in both run and pass blocking last season.
Wyatt Teller: 94.1 PFF Grade (1st)
— PFF (@PFF) October 9, 2020
He showed tremendous upside and could be part of the Browns’ future plans.
The frustrating part is that Teller is only under contract for one more season.
That doesn’t give Cleveland much time to discuss a possible extension with Teller.
The Browns are likely going to wait and see how Teller plays in 2021 before diving into a possible new deal.
3. WR Jarvis Landry
The always reliable wideout Jarvis Landry has been a key piece to the Browns roster for three seasons.
He has 236 receptions and nearly 3,000 receiving yards during his time in Cleveland.
The 28-year-old has proven to be well worth his five-year $75.5 million extension.
However, the five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver is only locked up for another two seasons.
Landry is eligible to be a free agent at the same time as Bitonio and many other Browns players.
The organization is quickly going to need to decide who is going to be a long-term piece to this roster.
Much like Bitonio, Landry has done nothing but succeed in Cleveland, but we’ll see if the organization is willing to pay him in 2023.
2. DB Denzel Ward
The Browns have a big decision on their hands with the future of defensive back Denzel Ward.
He has been a stud in the secondary for Cleveland over the last three seasons.
However, injuries have slowed him down at times and that could make the organization cautious about a long-term extension.
The 24-year-old is one of the best defensive backs in the league when healthy, but hasn’t played a full season during his professional career.
Luckily, the organization has time to figure out whether or not they want to sign Ward to a long-term deal.
He is not eligible for free agency until 2023, so the Browns have time to figure it out.
It sounds like two sides have been discussing an extension, which is good news.
#Browns CB Denzel Ward said he doesn’t know whether there has been any progress in contract extension talks between the team and his agent because he’s locked in on football and focused on training camp.
— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) July 30, 2021
Although, it doesn’t sound like there has been much ground made on a new deal.
Despite that, Ward is focused on playing football, which is great to hear from the Browns lockdown corner.
1. QB Baker Mayfield
It shouldn’t shock anyone that quarterback Baker Mayfield ranks first on this list.
He should be the Browns’ main priority going forward as he is expected to be the franchise quarterback.
The former first-round pick had a breakout season in Cleveland last season.
Finally, Mayfield has turned a corner and looks like the superstar they believed he could be when they drafted him in 2018.
The biggest problem now is going to be finding a common ground between the organization and Mayfield for an extension.
The salaries for quarterbacks continue to rise at a ridiculous rate, which means Mayfield is going to get paid significantly.
Possibly, a deal in the range of $35-40 million per season, which is a lot of payroll for one player.
Obviously, the Browns have other players to worry about as well, but Mayfield needs to be the next big signing.
The team has until 2023 to strike a deal, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see something happen much sooner than that.