The Browns made the no-brainer move to pick up the fifth-year options on quarterback Baker Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward on Friday, locking in the players’ guaranteed salaries for 2022.
During his Friday pre-draft press conference, General Manager Andrew Berry addressed both decisions, noting that they had a deadline to do so on May 3.
“I think both of those players have really just done a really nice job for us over their first three years,” Berry said. “Both had very strong seasons for us in 2020 and we view both of those guys as young players that are continuing ascending and are going to be a big part of what we do as we move forward.”
Though it happened a G.M. and two coaches ago, the Browns selected Mayfield at No. 1 overall and Ward at No. 4 overall in 2018. Both picks have worked out, as Mayfield’s passed for 11,115 yards with 75 touchdowns and 43 interceptions in his three seasons. Ward has picked off seven passes and recorded 40 passes defensed in three seasons, earning a Pro Bowl berth as a rookie.