The entire Baker Mayfield national nightmare is finally over. With training camps slated to get going later this month, the former Cleveland Browns No. 1 overall pick has a new home.
According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Mayfield has been traded to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Mayfield, 27, has long been on the trade block since Cleveland acquired Deshaun Watson in a blockbuster trade with the Houston Texans during the spring. Unfortunately, the Browns were unable to find trade partners as the market for quarterback-needy teams dried out.
Mayfield now joins a Panthers quarterback room that includes struggling starter Sam Darnold and rookie mid-round pick Matt Corral. Mayfield should have a darn good chance of earning the starting gig come Week 1.
Back in 2020, Mayfield looked every bit the part of a franchise quarterback in leading Cleveland to an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance. However, injuries and drama led to major regression on his part this past season.
Impact of Baker Mayfield trade to the Carolina Panthers
Cleveland will pick up $10.5 million of Mayfield’s contract for 2022 with the Panthers paying $5 million. Mayfield agreed to a $3.5 million pay reduction to help facilitate the trade.
By moving off Mayfield, the Browns suddenly find themselves in a precarious position at quarterback. There’s a good chance Watson will face a long-term suspension from the NFL. If so, Jacoby Brissett would likely take over as the stopgap starter.
As for Carolina, it made this move with one thing in mind. Embattled head coach Matt Rhule simply can’t rely on Darnold as his starting quarterback if he wants to retain his job beyond the 2022 season.