The Carolina Panthers are looking to upgrade their starting quarterback and have been eyeing Baker Mayfield since the offseason began. As of now, they’re trying to work out a trade with the Cleveland Browns.
However, the Browns and Panthers are stuck at the negotiating table. Both teams have an issue trying to figure out the financial end of the Mayfield trade and how much of his salary the Browns will help pay.
When the season ended, Mayfield requested a trade, but the Browns struggled to find him a new home because he makes too much money for a banged-up, above-average quarterback. Mayfield, the former #1 pick from the 2018 NFL Draft, will earn $18.8 million this season.
Mayfield recovered from surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. He suffered a dislocation in Week 1 of the 2021 season and it was a problem for the rest of the year. It occasionally popped out of the socket at times, so he wore a cumbersome brace. By trying to play through injuries, Mayfield struggled and the Browns followed suit with an 8-9 record.
A dinged-up Mayfield finished the season ranked #29 in QBR. In 14 games last season, Mayfield completed 60.5% of his passes for 3,010 yards. He threw 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The previous season, a healthy Mayfield was ranked #10 in QBR in 2020 when he tossed 26 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.
Panthers want Mayfield now, but…
After the NFL Draft, only the Panthers and Seattle Seahawks were still interested in Mayfield. The Seahawks currently have Drew Lock penciled in at quarterback after they traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.
The miserly Seahawks were circling the Browns because they want to snatch up Mayfield if the Browns cut him or negotiate a contract buyout. However, the Seahawks don’t want to overpay for Mayfield, and rightfully so.
The Panthers are actually willing to give up a draft pick for Mayfield, but want the Browns to pay some of his salary to complete the trade.
The Panthers are pressed for time because they want to lock up Mayfield in a trade to get him acclimated to the offense during minicamp.
The Browns also want to grab Mayfield if Deshaun Watson gets suspended by the NFL. If that’s a scenario, then the Browns might want to keep Mayfield to play quarterback until Watson returns, and then trade him midseason.
Watson is under investigation from the NFL due to his penchant for happy endings involving numerous massage therapists during his time with the Houston Texans. The Browns are in the middle of a PR disaster ever since they worked out a trade with the Texans for the troubled quarterback.
For now, Sam Darnold is listed as the #1 QB on the Panthers’ roster, but they also have backup PJ Walker and Matt Corral.
The Browns are +2500 odds to win Super Bowl 57, according to DraftKings, but that’s assuming Watson plays. The Panthers are +13000 odds to win the championship, but they’re at the bottom of the NFL futures board along with the LOL Jets.
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