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Baker Mayfield, Panthers Will Face Browns in Week 1

After months of searching, the Browns finally found a landing spot for quarterback Baker Mayfield, agreeing to trade him to the Panthers for a 2024 conditional fifth-round draft pick pending a physical. 

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport was the first to report the news, and Carolina confirmed the move shortly after the initial reports, paving the way for the former No. 1 pick to face off against his former team in Week 1 of the 2022 regular season.

The Panthers and the Browns are scheduled to square off in the opening week of this year’s campaign on September 11 at 1 p.m. ET. Should Mayfield win the starting job, he’ll get the chance to play in front of his new home crowd against Cleveland on that Sunday.

Of course it’s not a foregone conclusion that Mayfield will take over as the top quarterback for the Panthers. Carolina still has former No. 3 pick Sam Darnold, who played in a revenge game of his own against the Jets in Week 1 of last season, and rookie Matt Corral, who was selected in the third round of this year’s NFL draft, on the roster. The team hasn’t given any indication as to which player is currently atop the depth chart ahead of summer training camp.

Still, Mayfield figures to be the favorite to earn the starter spot, despite a down year in 2021. The 27-year-old is just a season removed from throwing for 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2020, when he led the Browns to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

If Mayfield does end up taking the field in Week 1, fans should circle their calendars, as the former No. 1 pick will surely be eager to prove a point against his former team.

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