It has been long known that Mayfield and the Browns were no longer on good terms. What started as a promising relationship between player and organization turned sour following the 2021 season. Mayfield led the Browns to their first playoff win in over two decades in 2020. With key acquisitions and the return of many others, the sky was the limit in 2021, but as we know, things change quickly in the NFL.
Mayfield suffered a shoulder injury early in the season and was never the same. Opting to play through the injury only added fuel to the fire that sent the Browns' season up in smoke. Then came passive-aggressive shots between him and the coaching staff. Between marginal play (via injury), a lack of locker room comradery, and a tarnishing relationship with the front office, it became a not if, but when regarding the departure of Mayfield.
Many thought this deal would come much sooner, with the Panthers also looking to add a new quarterback. The problem with this year's draft class was that most of the signal-callers need time to develop, which the Carolina staff simply doesn't have. While they selected Matt Corral in the third round, the idea that their shopping in the quarterback market was complete soon became false.
Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports that Carolina acquired Mayfield for a 2024 fifth-round pick, along with an agreement to split the financials regarding his contract. The Browns are taking on $10.5 Million of his contract, meaning the Panthers are only required to pay $5 Million of his 2022 salary. Certainly, a former first overall pick and player that has shown NFL starter ability is worth such compensation. It bears wondering just how much the Browns may have wanted Mayfield out, considering the situation surrounding Deshaun Watson and the agreement they have reached.
Now is the time for the Matt Rhule era in Carolina to show up or be shipped out. With a roster brimful of talent at nearly every position, Carolina believes they are just a quarterback away from contention. Questions will arise regarding what happens with Sam Darnold and what this means for him. With all signs pointing to the fact that they have their guy in Mayfield, we'll see if the team takes the next step in their arch.