Potential timeline revealed for Baker Mayfield trade to the Panthers
By Dean Jones
A timeline for the potential trade for quarterback Baker Mayfield was revealed, with talks reportedly continuing between the Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns.
The saga between Baker Mayfield and a potential switch to the Carolina Panthers seems to be generating momentum once again. His time with the Cleveland Browns is apparently over even if Deshaun Watson faces a league suspension relating to no fewer than 24 sexual misconduct allegations, which could bring severe complications to a team that is primed for a deep postseason run in 2022.
Mayfield has stayed relatively silent throughout the offseason, working by himself after being excused from workouts as his fate remains undetermined. The Panthers have been front and center of yet another bold trade for a veteran signal-caller before and during the draft, with discussions progressing before they spent a third-round selection on Matt Corral, instead.
Sam Darnold has reportedly made a strong start to OTAs and received praise from both Matt Rhule and wide receiver D.J. Moore. However, his production in a competitive environment just hasn’t been up to the required standard over his four years in the league, and giving him the starting role once again could bring about some grave ramifications.
The former first-round pick out of Oklahoma is motivated and now has a major chip on his shoulder. Carolina might also be in a strong position to get good value for the player by acquiring Mayfield for a Day 3 pick and also getting Cleveland to take on a substantial portion of his fully guaranteed $18.85 million base salary in 2022 for good measure.
Carolina Panthers are still speaking to the Browns about potential Baker Mayfield trade
A detailed report from Terry Pluto from Cleveland.com stated that the Panthers and Browns are still talking about a trade for Mayfield, according to sources. The respected writer also provided a potential timeline for the move, which centers on Watson’s current predicament and the repercussions that might follow.
"“I’m hearing the Browns and Carolina are still talking about Baker Mayfield. No matter what Carolina claims, the Panthers must know Sam Darnold is not close to the answer of being their quarterback. My guess is a deal will not happen until Watson’s suspension situation is clear. I heard the Browns are willing to ride out a shorter suspension with Brissett. They will wait for a QB to be cut in training camp, much as how the Browns picked up Nick Mullens right before the 2021 season.”"
It makes sense for the Browns to take a wait-and-see approach. Even if Mayfield doesn’t play for them again, finding out if Watson will be suspended and for how long will rightfully dictate the compensation and whether or not they also need to bring another quarterback to the team for a specific period in the former Clemson standout’s potential absence.
Joe Person of The Athletic touted a possible swap deal involving Darnold and Mayfield, who have the exact same salaries in 2022 on their fifth-year options. A scenario that was also highlighted by Pluto given that the Panthers would probably want to remove the No. 3 overall selection in 2018 completely from the equation if Mayfield came on board.
"“If the Panthers traded for Mayfield, why would they want Darnold? No team would want $38 million tied up in Darnold and Mayfield. It would be natural to build a trade around the two QBs.”"
In an ideal world, the Panthers would like to get Mayfield into the organization before training camp and also find a willing suitor for Darnold. One is likelier than the other, with almost no interest in the current starter throughout another turbulent offseason for the player.
This trade would divide sections of the fanbase who are concerned about Mayfield’s leadership qualities and the fact it’s yet another roll of the dice with a veteran that hasn’t worked out elsewhere.
However, the Heisman Trophy winner’s production has far exceeded anything Darnold’s done during his career. It’s also worth remembering that he led Cleveland to a memorable playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020.
There appears to be a real game of cat and mouse going on at the moment. But with training camp drawing closer with every passing day, it remains to be seen just which team will blink first.