The Carolina Panthers have traded with the Cleveland Browns for quarterback Baker Mayfield, The Charlotte Observer has confirmed, capping what has been a whirlwind of trade negotiations over the past two months.
At the center of those discussions was how much of Mayfield’s $18.9 million salary each team was willing to take on.
In exchange for Mayfield, the Panthers gave up a 2024 conditional fifth-round draft pick, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Carolina and Mayfield have been linked since Watson decided to waive his no-trade clause for the Browns in March. Mayfield became disgruntled and requested a trade.
After missing out on Watson, Mayfield became one of two options. Jimmy Garappolo was the other.
Trade talks heated up during the NFL draft, but neither team could agree on the right price. The Panthers instead traded up and drafted quarterback Matt Corral in the third round.
But while general manager Scott Fitterer said he was happy with the team’s quarterback room at the time, he did not close the door on a potential trade in the future.
Mayfield had previously been excused from the Browns’ minicamp and did not participate. He’ll join the Panthers for training camp, which begins later this month.
The Panthers have been looking for an upgrade at quarterback since last season’s trade deadline in October, when it became apparent that Sam Darnold was not the answer.
The Panthers’ quarterback room — between Darnold, Cam Newton and P.J. Walker — combined to throw 14 touchdowns and 21 touchdowns in 2021, which was among the worst in the NFL.
Landing Mayfield — who is only a year removed from throwing 26 touchdowns to eight interceptions, finishing 10th in total QBR and leading the Browns to their first playoff victory since 1994 — improves their quarterback room.
The Panthers now have five quarterbacks on their roster — Mayfield, Darnold, Corral, Walker and Davis Cheeks — though they will likely only carry three by the start of the season.
Story by Ellis Williams and Jonathan M. Alexander, The Charlotte Observer