Carolina Panthers trade offer No. 1
As stated previously, the main stumbling block behind a trade for Baker Mayfield was just how his fully guaranteed $18.85 million in 2022 would be split. Had the Carolina Panthers not triggered Sam Darnold’s fifth-year option with the same figure attached, this would not be a problem, but it’s the mess they made for themselves and must live with the consequences.
The Cleveland Browns won’t want to release Mayfield entirely. Eating that much dead-cap is a major complication for an organization that has lofty ambitions next season, so finding a willing trade partner would be the best possible solution for all parties involved.
According to Jonathan Alexander of the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers were not willing to pay anything more than $5-6 million of Mayfield’s contract. Cleveland didn’t agree to this during the draft, but they might change their stance the longer this complication goes on.
This scenario also gives them a late-round selection in return. Carolina would get themselves a starter and immediate upgrade on Darnold, which would also allow Matt Corral to develop at his own pace in readiness for a potential starting gig down the line.
It does make a lot of sense, especially if Mayfield is fully healed and motivated to prove his doubters wrong. But after so many bad decisions at the most important position on the field, the Panthers will likely think long and hard before picking up the phone again.