3 reasons the Carolina Panthers are stalling on Baker Mayfield trade

(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /
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Carolina Panthers
(Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /

Carolina Panthers want Cleveland to pay

Not only do the Carolina Panthers have some doubts about the trade, but they are also looking for the Cleveland Browns to take on a significant part of Baker Mayfield’s salary in the event talks resume once again.

This was the main reason why a deal wasn’t struck during the 2022 NFL Draft, with Jonathan Alexander of the Charlotte Observer reporting that the Panthers were looking for the Browns to stump up between $13-14 million of Mayfield’s fully guaranteed $18.9 million deal, which is the last of his rookie contract.

"“In a trade, Carolina wanted Cleveland to pay the majority of Mayfield’s $18.9 million guaranteed salary, somewhere in the range of $13-14 million. Those conversations stalled and Carolina traded up to get Corral, who was their favorite quarterback in the 2022 draft class, with the 94th pick. They also strongly considered quarterback Sam Howell, even after they drafted Corral, two sources said. Neither Kenny Pickett nor Malik Willis were under serious consideration.”"

It is a lot of money for the Browns to sacrifice for nothing. But they have absolutely no leverage and those in power will not want to release the player entirely and put a substantial sum on their dead cap that could be better spent elsewhere.

If the Panthers could get Mayfield for $6 million next season in exchange for a Day 3 draft pick, it’s a no-brainer. However, having Sam Darnold on the books for a guaranteed $18.85 million after picking up his fifth-year option is clearly putting Carolina off, one suspects.