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Browns to Pay Baker Mayfield $10.5 Million in Trade With Panthers

Baker Mayfield has found a new home—the Panthers. 

The Browns traded their star quarterback for a conditional 2024 fifth-round draft pick, Carolina confirmed Wednesday. However, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the fifth-round pick could become a fourth-round selection if Mayfield plays 70% of the Panthers’ offensive snaps. 

Mayfield‘s 2022 salary was one of the main obstacles to a trade in recent weeks, but it seems as though that issue is now solved. 

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Browns will reportedly pay Mayfield $10.5 million this season while the Panthers will pay him approximately $5 million. The quarterback trimmed roughly $3.5 million off of his base salary in the deal.  

The Browns will now save $8 million in cash and cap space, per Garafolo.

Per Yahoo’s Charles Robinson, the ceiling for the draft pick is a fourth rounder. Additionally, Robinson reported that Mayfield cutting part of his salary helped the trade as Carolina wanted the Browns to take on $15 million of the salary back during the draft. 

After the Browns picked up Mayfield’s fifth-year option last year, the quarterback was set to earn $18.86 million. But, the Panthers are already paying Sam Darnold’s fifth-year option of $18.85 million in 2022. 

In January, Cleveland reportedly wanted to keep Mayfield this season; however, that was before they traded for Deshaun Watson. The former Texans quarterback faced 25 civil lawsuits that described accounts of sexual harassment and assault (20 of which have now been settled and one of which was dropped in light of privacy concerns). Right before the Watson trade, Mayfield officially requested a trade from the Browns.

Watson and the NFL held a disciplinary hearing last week. The league will reportedly argue for a “significant” suspension. No suspension has been issued for Watson as of Wednesday.  

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