The Cleveland Browns have finally found a trade partner for Baker Mayfield, offloading the disgruntled quarterback to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a 2024 conditional fifth-round draft pick. Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero were the first to report the trade, which broke on Wednesday. The deal is reportedly complete pending Mayfield passing a physical with the Panthers.
A new QB in Carolina: The #Panthers are acquiring former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield from the #Browns for a 2024 conditional 5th-round draft pick, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. Deal is pending a physical. All parties split the financials to make it happen. pic.twitter.com/xuTLqosmZm
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 6, 2022
Mayfield is due to make $18.4 million in 2022, which made finding a possible destination for the quarterback more difficult. Here's how the financials worked out in this trade:
More: The #Browns will pay Baker Mayfield $10.5 million this season, which means they trimmed over $8 million in cash and salary-cap space. The #Panthers will pay Mayfield ~$5 million. Mayfield agreed to trim ~$3.5 million off his base salary.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 6, 2022
Mayfield had requested a trade out of Cleveland early into the offseason after the Browns shockingly traded for Deshaun Watson and then handed him a fully guaranteed $230 million contract, despite the ongoing sexual assault allegations hanging over his head.
The Seahawks and Browns reportedly had conversations about a potential Mayfield trade, but nothing ever materialized on that front. Instead, the Panthers opted to roll the dice on Mayfield, and he's expected to be the starting quarterback from the onset of the season, though he'll face competition from Sam Darnold and rookie quarterback Matt Corral.
Mayfield battled through injuries in his final season with the Browns, but ultimately struggled and faced significant scrutiny from the fans. The former No. 1 pick will now look to revive his career in Carolina, where he'll look to establish a connection with offensive weapons in D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Christian McCaffrey, among others.
It'll be a prove-it year for Mayfield, who is in the last year of his rookie contract. He'll hit unrestricted free agency next season, and a strong showing in 2022 could be exactly what he needs to line himself up for a nice payday in the future.
To add to the intrigue surrounding the trade, it's worth noting that the Panthers and Browns will square off in Week 1 this season.