Browns Could Still Trade QB Baker Mayfield to NFC South Squad: Report

Getty Images Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns.

It appears the Cleveland Browns have run out of options to trade Baker Mayfield, but one insider says it’s time to pump the brakes on that narrative.

The Browns entered the 2022 NFL Draft last weekend with what appeared to be two solid NFC options as potential trade partners for the quarterback: the Carolina Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks. Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot of reported in mid-April that the Panthers had “the inside track” to get a deal done for Mayfield. The Seahawks, on the other hand, simply seemed the most logical fit due to how weak their quarterback room is with Drew Lock, Geno Smith and Jacob Eason filling the top three spots on the depth chart.

Then, the Panthers pulled off a trade with the New England Patriots to move into the third round of the draft and select quarterback Matt Corral with the No. 94 overall pick. It was a move that ostensibly took them out of contention for Mayfield.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, chose not to draft a signal caller over the weekend. Head coach Pete Carroll then said during an interview with Sports Radio 93.3 KJR-FM in Seattle on Thursday, May 5 that, “I don’t see us making a trade for anybody at all, I don’t see that happening.”

That seemed to be the end of it, and the Browns appeared stuck with Mayfield for the foreseeable future. However, Cabot suggested Friday that Cleveland shouldn’t quit so easily.

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Panthers May Still be in Play For Baker Mayfield, Browns Insider Says

Getty ImagesQuarterback Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns.

Cabot suggested in a piece published May 6 that the Panthers may still be in the game for Mayfield considering how abysmal, or otherwise inexperienced, Carolina’s roster is at the quarterback position.

The Browns shouldn’t give up that easily on trying to trade Baker Mayfield to the Panthers. Now that the dust has settled on the NFL Draft and things are relatively quiet, the Browns should go back to the Panthers and try to execute the deal. They headed into draft weekend with Carolina as their best shot to pull off a deal, and that might still be the case.

[The Panthers] left the draft the same way they came in, with Sam Darnold as their starter, and if it wasn’t good enough for them a week ago, it’s probably still not.

Panthers Coach Says Darnold Still QB, Mayfield Could Offer Upgrade

Sam Darnold

GettyQuarterback Sam Darnold of the Carolina Panthers looks on prior to a game against the New York Jets at Bank of America Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)

Cabot went on to quote Panthers head coach Matt Rhule after his team traded up to draft Corral in the third round last Sunday, highlighting the thinking of team leadership moving into offseason workouts and eventually training camp.

“If we go play tomorrow, Sam Darnold would be our quarterback,” Rhule said. “We just drafted Matt. The transition from college to the NFL is really hard and over the last couple years, guys trying to make that transition … right away hasn’t been very successful.”

Cabot suggested that perhaps Rhule is looking for a dismissal from Carolina in 2022, which would be his third year with the team, so he can return to the collegiate ranks where he enjoyed considerable success.

That doesn’t necessarily track with the move Rhule captained last year, giving up a significant draft package to acquire Darnold from the New York Jets. If Rhule does desire to stick around and make it in the pros, Cabot said the choice is clear — make a move for Mayfield. It may not be the option Rhule and the Panthers’ would wish for, but it is likely the best one they’ve got.

“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 wrote.

“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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