Trade talks between the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers for quarterback Baker Mayfield have revved up with an added sense of urgency, per a new report.
Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reported on Tuesday, June 14 that the Panthers are hoping to get Mayfield in for some of minicamp, which runs until June 16.
“As minicamps begin today for the Browns and Panthers, trade talks between the teams continue surrounding QB Baker Mayfield, per sources. The main issue remains Mayfield’s salary and how much (or how little) teams pay,” Jones tweeted. “There’s urgency on Carolina’s side to execute the deal soon so Mayfield can get some time in minicamp with the Panthers. For the Browns, it’s the best offer they have. Talks ongoing.”
Mayfield’s near $19 million salary has been the issue from the outset for teams eyeing a trade for the former No. 1 overall pick. With the Browns holding little leverage in negotiations, teams have been waiting it out, seeing how much of that number they can get Cleveland to take on.
Joe Person of The Athletic said that minicamp was a “soft” deadline the Panthers set to trade for Mayfield and his salary is still what’s holding things up.
“Minicamp was seen as a soft deadline by Panthers on a Baker Mayfield trade, b/c they want to get him in and get him familiar with his teammates and the offense,” Person tweeted. “Talks continue. But Panthers want CLE to pick up a big chunk of Mayfield’s salary. So far, no budge.”
Panthers Have Been Open About Adding ‘Veteran’ QB to Mix
The Panthers have been clear that they’re open to adding more competition to their quarterback room, which currently includes Sam Darnold, rookie Matt Corral and veteran journeyman PJ Walker. Darnold is holding down the starting role but it’s not a situation the Panthers are locked into and head coach Matt Rhule teased that the team would look into adding someone after minicamp.
“I think as we finish minicamp, [GM] Scott [Fitterer] and I will talk, really at every position and say, ‘Hey, where are we?’” Rhule said when asked about adding a quarterback. “I think at the end of next week—we sit down, we talk about, ‘Hey, where are we?’ We’ve had a chance to see these guys now for eight weeks, nine weeks. Where do we need to bring some more help in? And where do we need to look for somebody at? Where are we good at? I think those talks happen as you finish up minicamp.”
While Darnold has been under fire following a disappointing first season in Carolina, he’s expressed confidence that he can bounce back.
“As long as I know what we’re doing, what the defense is doing, I’m confident I can be one of the best quarterbacks in the league,” Darnold said, via ESPN. “There were times last year when my feet got very … just, loose is a good term … chaotic. It’s just having confidence in my feet and the system to go out there and put the ball where it needs to be.”
Browns Not Entertaining Starting Baker Mayfield
With a trade not taking place yet, Mayfield remains in limbo. However, so do the Browns, with uncertainty surrounding if and how long Deshaun Watson could be suspended for. Mayfield has been excused from mandatory minicamp and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com has reported the team has no plans to turn to their former starter if Watson does miss significant time.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski expressed confidence in veteran Jacoby Brissett holding down the fort in Cleveland if Watson is out.
“I do have confidence in Jacoby. He has played a lot of football for a young player. He is a smart player. He takes care of the football,” Stefanski said on Tuesday, June 14. “Good size, can make all of the throws and those type of things. He has been in multiple offenses. Our offense is a little bit different than what he has done previously but has a really, really good understanding of football – football intelligence that is – so I just think he is a really good operator.”
Things should heat up in the coming days and weeks with Mayfield, with all sides ready to put the situation to rest.