Although the Panthers may circle back to Baker Mayfield, the disgruntled quarterback’s path out of Cleveland in a trade narrowed last week when the Browns and Panthers could not agree on terms. Carolina traded into Round 3 for Matt Corral, diminishing its interest in taking on part of Mayfield’s fifth-year option salary.
As previously noted, the terms of Mayfield’s $18.9MM 2022 option led to the Browns-Panthers trade talks fizzling. Carolina wanted Cleveland to pick up most of that fully guaranteed salary, according to ESPN.com’s Jake Trotter, who adds the trade talks that concluded Friday did not come especially close to producing a deal.
The Browns remain unwilling to cut Mayfield, though with the Seahawks curiously not showing much interest, they may have no choice. The Texans have also surfaced as a potential suitor. Both teams and others likely would take a hard look at the four-year starter as a free agent, but for now, the Browns are not prepared to cut Mayfield loose.
Mayfield attempting to play through a torn shoulder labrum undoubtedly hurt his standing, though Trotter adds the Browns were reluctant to engage in extension talks before the start of the 2021 campaign. Prior to Mayfield’s injury, reports emerged indicating he was fine with playing out his fourth season absent an extension. But Mayfield’s value cratered in 2021, with the former Heisman winner’s completion percentage plummeting from an NFL-best 82% before his September shoulder injury to 58% in the games following the setback. The latter portion comprised most of the season, leading the Browns to an 8-9 record and pushing this situation to its present state.
Mayfield underwent surgery in January but contacted Amari Cooper about a potential throwing session in March, per Trotter. However, the Browns’ entrance into the Deshaun Watson mix — and the “adult in the room” comment — proved to be enough for Mayfield to request a trade. The 27-year-old passer requested to be dealt nearly two months ago, but the standoff persists.