The Cleveland Browns agreed to trade quarterback Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday for a 2024 conditional draft pick.
The Panthers will pay $4.85 million of Mayfield’s salary, while the Browns will pay $10.5 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Mayfield accepted to convert the remainder of his $18.8 million salary into incentives to facilitate the deal, which is pending a physical. Mayfield can earn back that money based on team performance, a source said.
The Browns will get a fourth- or fifth-round pick in 2024, depending on Mayfield’s playing time in Carolina, a source told ESPN. For the pick to go to a fourth-rounder, Mayfield would have to play 70% of the snaps, a league source told ESPN’s David Newton.
Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, joins a Panthers team that already has Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall selection in 2018, on its quarterback depth chart. The Panthers also selected Matt Corral in the third round of this year’s draft.
The Panthers have no intention of trading Darnold after acquiring Mayfield, a league source told Newton.
Now Mayfield and Darnold, who competed with each other to become the No. 1 pick in 2018, will compete again in training camp to vie for the right to be the Panthers’ starter this season, a league source told Schefter.
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If Mayfield gets the job, his first starting assignment will be versus the Browns, who are scheduled to visit Carolina in Week 1. The Browns are currently 1-point favorites at Caesars Sportsbook.
Panthers quarterbacks posted a 30.3 QBR last season, which was ranked 30th in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Mayfield had a 35.1 QBR last season, ranking 27th of the 31 qualified quarterbacks, while Darnold was the only non-rookie with a lower QBR.
With the trade, Carolina’s Super Bowl odds went from 125-1 to 100-1 at Caesars Sportsbook, while its odds to win the NFC jumped from 60-1 to 50-1 and to win the NFC South from 12-1 to 11-1.
“We want to thank Baker for all his contributions to the Cleveland Browns,” owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. “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.”
The Mayfield trade comes on the heels of Cleveland’s blockbuster deal with the Houston Texans that landed quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Browns gave Watson a new five-year deal worth $230 million fully guaranteed, the richest deal in guaranteed money in NFL history by an $80 million margin.
Cleveland also surrendered three first-round picks in the deal, the first team to do so for a single player since the Minnesota Vikings traded three first-rounders to the Dallas Cowboys for running back Herschel Walker in 1989. With Mayfield gone, the Browns now have starter Watson along with Jacoby Brissett and Josh Dobbs at quarterback.
Watson, however, might not be available to the Browns at all this season. He has been accused in civil lawsuits by 25 women of actions ranging from sexual assault to inappropriate behavior during massage sessions.
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