Browns trade Baker Mayfield to Panthers, pending physical

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By , Audacy

Baker Mayfield has a new team.

The Cleveland Browns traded the 27-year-old quarterback to the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday in exchange for a 2024 conditional fifth-round pick, pending a physical, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

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Per Rapoport’s colleague, Mike Garafolo, the Browns will still pay Mayfield $10.5 million, saving more than $8 million in cash and salary-cap space. Meanwhile, the Panthers will pay around $5 million with Mayfield agreeing to trim roughly $3.5 million off his base salary.

Interestingly, the Browns and Panthers will play each other Week 1 to open the 2022 season.

Mayfield had become unhappy with the Browns during their pursuit of Deshaun Watson, whom they eventually landed and signed to a record $230 million contract, and reportedly requested a trade back in March.

There is still uncertainty that Mayfield’s replacement, Watson, will even play this year as the NFL has an ongoing investigation into claims of sexual misconduct and assault against him. Despite that uncertainty, which would allow Mayfield to be the default starter with a Watson suspension, he still refused to report to OTAs, signaling his displeasure.

Jacoby Brissett will now be the Browns backup and is in line to start in the event of a Watson suspension.

Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam thanked Mayfield in a statement on Wednesday:

"We want to thank Baker for all his contributions to the Cleveland Browns. From the moment he was drafted, he gave his all for this organization and this city. With his fierce competitive spirit, he excited the fanbase and accomplished things that no player at his position had done in Cleveland for a very long time. He also made a difference in the community, whether it was hosting events at the Boys and Girls Club, honoring our troops, supporting the Special Olympics as well as countless other charitable endeavors. We are grateful for everything he did for this organization and wish him and Emily well in the future.”

General manager Andrew Berry also released a statement on Mayfield:

“Baker Mayfield infused our organization with tenacity and grit during his time as our starting quarterback. Baker’s competitiveness, toughness and ability to persevere were all characteristics that endeared him to our city as well as his teammates. He will always have a unique place in Browns history for what he accomplished and we wish him well as he continues his career.”

Mayfield now joins the Panthers, where he will compete for the starting job with Sam Darnold, who was taken third overall in the 2018 NFL Draft — two picks after the Browns selected Mayfield first overall.

It also means the NFC South now has three quarterbacks taken either first or second overall, plus Tom Brady.

In four seasons with Cleveland, Mayfield had a 29-30 record as a starter and led the franchise to the playoffs in 2020 where they had their first playoff win since 1994. He spent much of last year battling injuries, playing in just 14 games and finishing with 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

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