Carolina Panthers Eye Baker Mayfield in Trade Amid Browns’ Salary Mishap

The Carolina Panthers’ Pursuit of Baker Mayfield: Trade Negotiations and Financial Challenges

The Carolina Panthers have set their sights on upgrading their starting quarterback position and have honed in on Baker Mayfield since the start of the offseason. However, the Panthers and the Cleveland Browns are currently locked in negotiations as they navigate the financial aspects of the potential trade.

The Financial Puzzle

The main stumbling block for both teams lies in determining the financial implications of a Mayfield trade. When the previous season concluded, Mayfield expressed a desire to be traded, but the Browns faced difficulties in finding him a new team due to his substantial salary. As an above-average quarterback, his price tag proved to be too steep. Mayfield, originally drafted as the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, is set to earn $18.8 million for the upcoming season.

An Injury-Plagued Season

Mayfield’s performance in the 2021 season was hampered by an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. Sustained during Week 1, the dislocation posed a persistent problem throughout the year. Mayfield frequently experienced his shoulder popping out of its socket, necessitating the use of a cumbersome brace. In an effort to battle through the pain, Mayfield’s performance suffered, and the Browns stumbled to an 8-9 record.

Statistical Analysis

Despite battling injuries, Mayfield managed to start in 14 games last season. He completed 60.5% of his passes for 3,010 yards, tallying 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. In the preceding season, when Mayfield was healthy, he showcased a more impressive performance, ranking #10 in QBR in 2020 with 26 touchdowns and only eight interceptions.

The Cleveland Browns and the Hunt for a Suitable Trade

Following the NFL Draft, the Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks emerged as the only remaining teams showing interest in Mayfield. The Seahawks currently have Drew Lock penciled in as their starting quarterback after trading away Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.

The Seahawks have been keeping a close eye on the Browns, as they are interested in acquiring Mayfield should the Browns release him or negotiate a contract buyout. However, the Seahawks are wary of overpaying for Mayfield, a cautious stance considering the circumstances.

Panthers’ Push for Mayfield

While the Seahawks are playing it safe, the Panthers are willing to part with a draft pick in exchange for Mayfield. However, they expect the Browns to absorb some of Mayfield’s salary as part of the trade arrangement.

Time Is of the Essence

The Panthers are feeling the pressure to finalize the trade swiftly so that Mayfield can immerse himself in their offensive system during minicamp. The urgency to secure their new quarterback underscores the importance of a seamless transition.

Browns’ Contingency Plan

In an interesting turn of events, the Browns are also monitoring the situation surrounding Deshaun Watson. If Watson is suspended by the NFL, the Browns may opt to retain Mayfield as their starting quarterback until Watson’s return, potentially looking to trade him midseason.

Watson Under Investigation

Deshaun Watson finds himself under investigation by the NFL due to allegations involving multiple massage therapists during his tenure with the Houston Texans. The Browns, still dealing with the fallout from their trade negotiations with the Texans for Watson, must navigate this PR crisis as they weigh their options.

Quarterback Landscape of the Panthers

As of now, Sam Darnold holds the top spot on the Panthers’ quarterback depth chart. However, PJ Walker and Matt Corral are also part of the Panthers’ backup options, providing depth and competition in the quarterback room.

Futures Odds for Browns and Panthers

DraftKings currently places the Browns at +2500 odds to win Super Bowl 57, assuming that Watson will be available. On the other hand, the Panthers find themselves at +13000 odds, positioned at the bottom of the NFL futures board alongside the New York Jets.


The Carolina Panthers’ pursuit of Baker Mayfield as their new starting quarterback has encountered its fair share of obstacles, primarily revolving around financial negotiations with the Cleveland Browns. Both teams have a vested interest in securing a favorable outcome, but time is of the essence, as the Panthers aim to integrate Mayfield into their offense during minicamp. Meanwhile, the Browns have contingency plans in place, monitoring the Deshaun Watson situation and considering the possibility of retaining Mayfield until a potential midseason trade. As the NFL trade rumors continue to swirl, the future of both teams hangs in the balance.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What has been the main obstacle in the trade negotiations between the Panthers and Browns?

The financial aspects of the potential trade have been a major stumbling block for both teams, as they try to determine how the salary breakdown will look for Baker Mayfield.

2. How have Mayfield’s injuries impacted his performance on the field?

Mayfield suffered a dislocation in his non-throwing shoulder early in the 2021 season, causing ongoing pain and instability. This injury significantly affected his performance and hampered the Cleveland Browns’ overall record.

3. Are there any other teams interested in acquiring Mayfield?

Currently, the Carolina Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks are the remaining teams showing interest in Mayfield as their potential starting quarterback.

4. Why are the Panthers feeling pressured to finalize the trade quickly?

The Panthers want to ensure Mayfield has sufficient time to familiarize himself with their offensive system during minicamp, emphasizing the need for a swift resolution.

5. How does Deshaun Watson’s situation impact the Browns’ plans for Mayfield?

If Deshaun Watson faces a suspension by the NFL, the Browns might consider retaining Mayfield as their starting quarterback until Watson’s return and potentially explore a midseason trade.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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