Browns QB Baker Mayfield Put on Notice Amid Trade Drama

Baker Mayfield

Getty Images Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns.

If the Carolina Panthers do end up making a move for Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, Hall of Fame tight end turned talking head Shannon Sharpe thinks everyone should temper their expectations.

The Panthers have been the team most clearly linked to Mayfield, who could come in and compete for the starting gig alongside Sam Darnold and rookie Matt Corral. While Mayfield certainly has upside to help improve the Browns, Sharpe isn’t buying that the trade could help save head coach Matt Rhule’s job.

“How in the hell can Baker Mayfield save Matt Rhule’s job and he can’t save his own? He had a much better situation in Cleveland,” Sharpe ranted on Undisputed on Tuesday. “Look at the receivers he had in Cleveland. Look at the running backs that he had in Cleveland. Look at the offensive line that he had in Cleveland. Look at the defense that he had in Cleveland. He couldn’t save his job, but he’s gonna save someone else’s?”

The take that Mayfield could help save Rhule’s job came from James Jones of NFL Network. He said the Rhule — who is 10–23 — is risking his future by not making a move for the former top overall pick.

“Baker Mayfield right now coming off the streets, wherever he’s at in Cleveland, makes this team better. He is a better player and a better quarterback,” Jones said. “We’ve seen the best of Sam Darnold, we can’t keep giving Darnold more chances. Baker Mayfield led this Cleveland Browns team to the playoffs and won on the road in Pittsburgh. … If you do not bring in a quarterback you are going to end up being fired depending on Sam Darnold.”

Panthers Open to Upgrading at Quarterback

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Mayfield has found himself in a precarious situation following a rough, injury-riddled season. Mayfield completed 60.5% of his passes last season for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He had surgery on a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder this offseason but is expected to be ready to roll for training camp.

A healthy Mayfield should be an upgrade over Darnold, who passed for 2,527 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games with the Panthers last season as the team finished 5-12.

Carolina has not been shy about saying that they’ll make an upgrade at any position if the opportunity presents itself before the start of the season.

“At any position, if we can make a significant improvement, we absolutely should,” Rhule told reporters as the Panthers wrapped up minicamp on Thursday, June 16. “But we can also make a lot of improvements by our guys playing better this year than they have in the past, and I like where he’s headed.”

Mayfield’s Salary Sticking Point in Negotiations

What has prevented the Browns from making a deal involving Mayfield has been his salary, which comes in at just under $19 million for next season. And the Browns have no leverage in negotiations, so teams — including the Panthers — have waited things out to see how much of that number they can get Cleveland to eat.

But Cleveland has changed course a bit with the clock ticking down to training camp. MMQB senior NFL reporter Albert Breer said recently that they’re willing to eat half of his salary to get a deal done.

“They’re willing to take on a fair amount of Baker’s salary,” Breer said on Friday’s edition of The Rich Eisen Show. “Like $9 or 10 million. So for people out there who think that Cleveland’s holding on to Baker as Deshaun [Watson] insurance, they wouldn’t be offering to take on a pretty significant portion of the guy’s salary if they were looking to hold him until there’s more clarity in the Deshaun Watson case.”

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John Dwyer
John Dwyer
3 months ago

Rave on, clown Sharpe. Take your meds or get off them if you’re on them. James Jones of NFL Network answered your hater’s rave before you bloviated it. Lemme parse it for you: MAYFIELD HEALTHY IS A HELLUVA QB. Only one in DECADES, hater, to lead the Browns to the playoffs, win one there, and come within an eyelash of beating the defending Super Bowl champs after that. OTOH, keep showing your ignorance, hater, and we’ll enjoy watching you munch some crow pie when Mayfield is leading the Panthers or whomever.

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