The Browns have found a new team for Baker Mayfield.
Cleveland is trading the quarterback to the Panthers for a conditional fifth-round pick in 2024, the Panthers announced. The Panthers host the Browns in Week 1 this year.
NFL Network reports that the Browns are picking up $USD10.5 million of Mayfield’s contract. The Panthers are paying the signal caller about $5 million, and Mayfield agreed to cut the remaining $3.5 million off his 2022 deal. He is slated to be a free agent at the end of the season.
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Mayfield had been seeking a trade after the Browns acquired Deshaun Watson from the Texans and gave him a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract despite dozens of sexual misconduct accusations.
Mayfield, whom the Browns took No. 1 overall in 2018, said he felt “disrespected” by the franchise after the move — not necessarily for acquiring Watson, but rather for what he characterised as dishonest communication.
This result would have been almost unfathomable a year ago. In 2020, the Browns went 11-5 and beat the rival Steelers in the first round of the NFL playoffs. Coming into last season, Mayfield and the Browns were spoken about as borderline championship contenders.
However, in 2021, the team went 8-9 — and 6-8 in games started by Mayfield — and missed the postseason. Mayfield played through a shoulder injury, and his stats suffered. He threw 17 touchdown passes last year after throwing 26 the year before. He also threw 13 interceptions in 2021, five more than in 2020.
There was also the constant cloud of Odell Beckham’s lack of production while with the Browns. Beckham’s dad posted an Instagram video in November that appeared to blame Mayfield for his son’s on-field struggles. The Browns later cut Beckham, who signed with the Rams and won the Super Bowl.
The deal likely ends Sam Darnold’s brief run as the Panthers’ starting quarterback. The Jets traded the No. 3 pick from the 2018 draft to Carolina last year weeks before selecting Zach Wilson No. 2 overall.