Revived Trade Proposal Ships Browns Baker Mayfield to NFC South

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Getty Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns participates in warmups prior to a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 25, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Browns 24-22. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The end of the NFL Draft seemed also to mark the end of the Cleveland Browns‘ chances to deal quarterback Baker Mayfield. But eight days later, talks have been revived with a prospective trade partner in the NFC South.

NFL insider Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reported Monday, May 9 that despite trading up into the third round to draft Matt Corral out of Ole Miss University, the Carolina Panthers are not totally out on the idea of bringing Mayfield into the fold.

“My understanding is the door isn’t 100% shut on the #Panthers and talks regarding Baker Mayfield, but I certainly received the impression that Carolina isn’t in any rush, nor are they pressed, per league source,” Anderson wrote. “They will roll as is, if need be, per league source.”

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Panthers’ Hesitancy to Trade For Baker Mayfield Isn’t About Money

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

GettyQB Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns avoids a tackle by edge rusher Joey Bosa of the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half at SoFi Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Less than 10 minutes after her first tweet bringing the Panthers officially back into the game for Mayfield, Anderson clarified one important point — that Carolina’s hesitancy to trade for the Cleveland quarterback does not originate out of financial concern.

“Baker Mayfield is set to make $18.858M from his 5th year option,” Anderson tweeted. “Even if Carolina paid 50% of that salary, that’s roughly $9M. That’s nothing if he’s starting. Add that to Sam Darnold’s option … that’s roughly $28M — $3M [approximately] above Jimmy [Garappolo] by himself. This is not about money.”

Panthers Brass Undecided on Baker Mayfield as QB Moving Forward

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

GettyQB Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns runs back to the locker room at the end of the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 17, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

If it isn’t about money, then there is only one thing Carolina’s concern can be about — a division of opinion at the top of the organization as to whether Mayfield can be a long-term answer for the Panthers under center.

Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot of went so far as to suggest in a piece published Friday, May 6 that Panthers head coach Matt Rhule may be trying to pass on Mayfield in an effort to get fired so he can cash in on his entire contract and return to the collegiate game, where he has previously found a great deal of success.

“The truth is, Mayfield still represents an upgrade over Darnold, and if the Panthers truly want to win this season, they’ll revisit the trade,” Cabot said.

“If the Panthers want to hit the ground running in 2022 and make a run at the playoffs, Mayfield gives them a better chance than Darnold [to] do that,” she continued. “Especially a healthy Mayfield who’s more likely to closely resemble the player who went 11-5 in 2020 and beat the [Pittsburgh] Steelers in the Wild Card Round than the one who struggled all last season.”

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