The end of the NFL draft also seemed to mark the end of the Cleveland Browns’ chances of getting the deal with quarterback Baker Mayfield. But eight days later, talks resumed with a potential trading partner in the NFC South.
NFL insider Josina Anderson by CBS Sports reported on Monday, May 9 that the Carolina Panthers, despite being traded into the third round to draft Ole Miss University’s Matt Corral, aren’t entirely sold on the idea of tying Mayfield.
“As far as I know, the door on the #Panthers and talks about Baker Mayfield isn’t 100% closed, but I certainly got the impression that Carolina is in no rush or pressure, the league source said.” Anderson wrote. “They will roll unchanged, if necessary, per league source.”
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Less than 10 minutes after her first tweet officially putting the Panthers back in the game for Mayfield, Anderson clarified an important point — that Carolina’s reluctance to trade for the Cleveland quarterback wasn’t because of financial concerns.
“Baker Mayfield expected to earn $18.858 million from his 5th year option,” Anderson tweeted. “Even if Carolina paid 50% of that salary, it would be about $9 million. That’s nothing if he starts. Add that to Sam Darnold’s option… that’s about $28 million – $3 million [approximately] about Jimmy [Garappolo] himself. This is not about money.”
If money isn’t at stake, then Carolina has only one thing to worry about — a disagreement at the top of the organization over whether Mayfield can be a long-term answer for the Panthers at center.
Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com went so far as to suggest in an article published Friday, May 6 that Panthers head coach Matt Rhule may be trying to pass Mayfield on to be fired so he can have all his money can earn a contract and return to the college game, where he previously enjoyed great success.
“The truth is Mayfield is still an improvement over Darnold and if the Panthers really want to win this season, they’re going to pick up the trade again,” Cabot said.
“If the Panthers want to go all out in 2022 and run to the playoffs, Mayfield gives them a better chance than Darnold [to] do that,” she continued. “Especially a healthy Mayfield who looks more like the player who went 11-5 in 2020 and beat that [Pittsburgh] Steelers in the Wild Card Round as the one who struggled all last season.”