Browns trade Baker Mayfield to Panthers for conditional 2024 fifth-round pick
Mayfield’s journey with Cleveland began with the No. 1 selection in the 2018 draft. Mayfield encountered many ups and downs, but his tenure ultimately swung to divorce with the Browns suing and the eventual acquisition of Deshaun Watson. As the Browns attempted to convince Watson to agree to a trade with Cleveland, Mayfield became disgruntled and demanded a trade shortly after Watson initially eliminated the Browns from consideration.
When Watson changed his mind and chose the Browns, the Mayfield era was all but over in Cleveland. Since mid-March, the Browns have purchased Mayfield, but with little leverage in trade negotiations, the team has kept Mayfield on its roster and away from the facility pending an acceptable offer.
They received such an offer this week. Mayfield heads to Carolina, where fellow 2018 top-three draft pick Sam Darnold is already residing on an almost identical rookie contract. Mayfield and Darnold are in the fifth and final year of their contracts, which were both slated to represent $18.858 million in salary cap space. The deal for Mayfield reduces that number to around $5 million while casting doubt on Darnold’s future.
Garafolo announced there will now be a training camp competition between the three former 2018 draft picks to determine who starts for Carolina; Third-round rookie Matt Corral is also on the roster.
Darnold arrived in Carolina in 2021 via trade as part of a recovery project for the Panthers, but failed to prove he was worthy of a long-term commitment. Mayfield, meanwhile, struggled with multiple injuries last season, which led the Browns to look for other options at quarterback before giving it to the Panthers.
It looks like 2022 is now Mayfield’s turn as a Panthers recovery draft. Mayfield underwent shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum and a broken shoulder, and if he can return to full health he will have one season to prove he has achieved what Darnold did not. could not have.