Browns QB Swap Featuring Baker Mayfield Extinguished

Baker Mayfield

Getty Images Quarterback Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns are looking for creative solutions to deal with their Baker Mayfield problem but a swap with the Carolina Panthers for Sam Darnold will not be one of them.

On the surface, the swap of Mayfield for Darnold makes sense, moving quarterbacks with the same salaries and avoiding some of the residual drama that would come with either staying put. Mayfield would give the Panthers a starter that’s an upgrade over Darnold, while the Browns would get an additional insurance policy in case Deshaun Watson is handed a lengthy suspension.

While logistically it might make some sense, Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot reported that the trade is not likely to happen. Per Cabot:

While the Baker Mayfield-for-Sam Darnold rumors have picked up steam over the past week, the Browns are very unlikely to make such a swap, league sources tell

One said he was ‘confident it’s not happening.’ The Browns and Panthers have remained in contact about a Mayfield trade ever since talks broke down over draft weekend, but Darnold hasn’t been a serious part of the discussion. It’s not impossible, but highly unlikely.

Talks Still Ongoing Between Carolina and Cleveland on Mayfield

While Darnold may not be involved in a deal, there are still ongoing negotiations between the Browns and Panthers that could have Mayfield with a new team sooner than later.

The Panthers have an added sense of urgency with the end of mandatory minicamp on the near horizon, hoping to get Mayfield in the building and with a playbook by the time training camp rolls around in late July.

The problem around getting a deal done has been Mayfield’s near $19 million salary for next season, which is the result of his fifth-year option being picked up by the Browns last offseason. With Carolina already paying Darnold the same figure, taking on Mayfield at his full salary is extremely unlikely. The Panthers have been trying to get the Browns to eat a large portion of that number, which would make the move less risky as Mayfield tries to prove to the rest of the league that he can be a viable starter.

Baker Mayfield Had Offseason Surgery on Shoulder

Mayfield is coming off his most inconsistent season as a pro, tossing 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The former top pick limped to the finish line, missing the final game of the year due to his banged up shoulder and some other ailments that slowed him during the year.

Mayfield had offseason surgery on his non-throwing shoulder to repair a torn labrum, playing through it from Week 2 on last year. Mayfield was clear following the procedure that he’s ready to return to the strong form he showed during the Browns playoff run during the 2020-21 season.

“This is not the end of my story,” Mayfield said in a video posted to social media. “It’s just going to be one of those little things that I’ll look back and remember that’s one of those challenges and adversity that I’m going to try to take advantage of me, and it’ll make me a better person.”

Over his career, Mayfield has performed at his best with a chip on his shoulder. The former Heisman winner will have no problem finding things to make that chip bigger next season.

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