The Browns are trading quarterback Baker Mayfield to the Panthers for a 2024 conditional fifth-round draft pick, the team announced Wednesday. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero were the first to report the news. The deal is pending a physical.
Mayfield was set to make $18.86 million this season, and that contract has reportedly been a hold-up in trade discussions. Cleveland will pay Mayfield $10.5 million of the contract and Carolina will pay him $5 million, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. Mayfield agreed to trim the rest of his salary.
In January, Cleveland reportedly wanted to keep Mayfield this year; however, that was before the team traded for Deshaun Watson. The former Texans quarterback faced 25 civil lawsuits describing accounts of sexual harassment and assault (20 of which have now been settled and one of which was dropped). Right before the Watson trade, Mayfield officially requested a trade from the Browns.
Cleveland’s quarterback decisions were not without exploring all options. Mary Kay Cabot reported the two sides met at the combine to discuss Mayfield’s future, but the team didn’t want to commit an extension to him before he had a bounce-back season.
Carolina has been connected to Mayfield the most over the last few weeks as Cleveland tried to find him a new home.
The Browns drafted Mayfield with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft, and the quarterback had a strong rookie season, including 27 passing touchdowns, culminating in the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Mayfield led the Browns to their first playoff appearance since 2002 in ’20, including a playoff victory over the Steelers. However, Mayfield had a down ’21 season, in part due to a shoulder injury that required surgery after the season.
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