The Cleveland Browns have been trying to move Baker Mayfield for months and could use another wideout for Deshaun Watson, the guy set to replace him. One trade exists that could accomplish both of those goals in one fell swoop.
The Carolina Panthers have appeared the most likely landing spot for Mayfield since the NFL Draft, when they were first confirmed to be engaged in serious trade talks for the quarterback. Subsequent reports have had the Panthers pursuing Mayfield aggressively, though no deal has yet gotten done. Most of the quibbling back and forth has been centered around money, namely how much of Mayfield’s nearly $19 million guaranteed salary the Browns will agree to pay as part of a trade sending him to the NFC South.
Josina Anderson of CBS Sports in mid-June floated the possibility that Panthers wide receiver Robbie Anderson could serve as an important factor in helping a deal centered around Mayfield come to fruition.
“Does this team need a No. 2 wide receiver above the skill set of a Donovan Peoples-Jones?” Anderson said. “You mentioned the Carolina Panthers. If something happens in the future, could somebody like a Robbie Anderson be a part of that trade?”
Anderson has been vocal on more than one occasion about his displeasure with Carolina’s interest in trading for Mayfield. Thus, swapping him to Cleveland as part of a deal for the quarterback would fill the Browns’ need at wide receiver while removing a headache in Carolina’s huddle before it begins.
The latest Browns news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Browns newsletter here!
Robbie Anderson Would Help Make Money Work in Mayfield Trade
Anderson’s value as part of a Mayfield trade doesn’t stop at what he could bring to a Browns’ wide receiver group that is at the very least inexperienced, if not legitimately thin, behind the recently acquired Amari Cooper, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys.
Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report on Saturday, July 2, laid out the rationale behind including Anderson as part of a hypothetical deal.
The Panthers have been searching for a quarterback upgrade this offseason. They’ve failed at every turn. However, the strong possibility of a trade for Baker Mayfield remains on the table.
The Browns don’t want to eat the entirety, or even the majority, of Mayfield’s $18.9 million salary cap hit. By dealing Anderson, the Panthers would create extra space to offset Mayfield’s deal, and the Browns would get a player of value at a position of need.
Carolina still has D.J. Moore, Terrace Marshall Jr. and Rashard Higgins to serve as its top three wide receivers — not to mention a healthy Christian McCaffrey for 2022 — and a starting quarterback holds significantly more value than a No. 2 target.
Anderson most recently signed a two-year contract with the Panthers that pays him $29.5 million over the life of the deal, per Spotrac.
Baker Mayfield Clear That Time With Cleveland Browns is Over
While he remains a member of the official roster, the chances that Mayfield ever takes another snap for Cleveland are slim to none.
Speaking to media members on June 28 from his annual youth football camp in Norman, Oklahoma, Mayfield stated definitively that his time with the Browns has come to an end and that it will be a mutual parting of ways.
“No,” Mayfield said in response to a question about whether he would play for the team again under any circumstances. “I think for that to happen, there would have to be some reaching out. But we’re ready to move on, I think, on both sides.”