The Browns on Friday exercised the fifth-year options on the contracts of QB Baker Mayfield and CB Denzel Ward.
Browns EVP of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry confirmed the news on a pre-draft video conference call with reporters. The 2018 first-round picks will now be under contract through the 2022 season.
"Both of those players have really done a nice job for us over the first three years," Berry said. "We view both of those guys as young players who continue to ascend."
This marks the second straight year Cleveland has exercised fifth-year options on its previous first-round picks. DE Myles Garrett and TE David Njoku had theirs exercised this time last year.
Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in 2018, had a breakout 2020 campaign in which he threw for 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. His passer rating of 95.9 was the third-best mark in franchise history. Since taking over as the full-time starter Week 4 of the 2018 season, Mayfield has started 45 consecutive regular season games and made both starts in the team's 2020 playoff games. For his career, Mayfield has thrown for 11,115 yards, 75 touchdowns and 43 interceptions.
Ward, the No. 4 pick in 2018, has started in all but one of the 37 games in which he's appeared. One of the league's top lockdown cornerbacks, Ward made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2018 and has racked up seven interceptions over the past three seasons. Despite missing four games this past season, Ward finished tied for second in the NFL with 18 passes defensed.
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