The Baker Mayfield era in Cleveland has come to an end. According to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Mayfield, who the team selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and has served as its starter for essentially his entire career, is getting the change of scenery he has wanted for months and will head to the Carolina Panthers.
The report indicates that Mayfield is going there for a conditional fifth-round draft pick, while both of the teams and Mayfield figured out how they want to handle the matter of the former Heisman Trophy winner’s salary.
A new QB in Carolina: The #Panthers are acquiring former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield from the #Browns for a 2024 conditional 5th-round draft pick, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. Deal is pending a physical. All parties split the financials to make it happen. pic.twitter.com/xuTLqosmZm
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 6, 2022
More: The #Browns will pay Baker Mayfield $10.5 million this season, which means they trimmed over $8 million in cash and salary-cap space. The #Panthers will pay Mayfield ~$5 million. Mayfield agreed to trim ~$3.5 million off his base salary.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 6, 2022
The deal comes nearly four months after Mayfield requested a trade. While that obviously did not happen until now, Cleveland spent that time trying to get its quarterback position all sorted out, as the team acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans one day after Mayfield asked out. Watson is currently under investigation following more than 20 allegations of sexual misconduct, and reports have indicated that the league would like to suspend him for at least a season — with Mayfield out of the picture, the team’s presumed backup is Jacoby Brissett.
The Browns and the Panthers are slated to play one another in Charlotte during the NFL’s opening weekend. The Panthers’ current options at quarterback are a pair of returning players, Sam Darnold and PJ Walker, along with 2022 draft pick Matt Corral.