It’s been many moons now since it became obvious Mayfield no longer has a future in Cleveland.
Back in March, the team traded for Texans signal-caller Deshaun Watson.
And though Watson might face a lengthy suspension in the near future for sexual misconduct, Mayfield has made it very clear he has no intention of playing backup.
Yet to this point, there seems to have been little progress on the trade front.
Teams like the Seahawks, Giants, Steelers, and Panthers have all been mentioned as potential destinations for the former Heisman winner.
And now, it looks like chatter is building with the latter of those options.
Show Me The Money
According to CBS’ Jonathan Jones, the Panthers maintain some level of interest in Mayfield.
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.
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) June 14, 2022
Jones also noted the issue of salary, which has come up more recently in Mayfield-related reporting.
This season, Mayfield is set to earn $18.8 million in salary.
Of course, the Browns aren’t interested in paying that, but it appears that the Panthers aren’t either.
Interestingly, Mayfield is set to make the exact same amount as Sam Darnold, who plays for the Carolina Panthers.
So it makes sense that Carolina is at least a little wary of paying almost $40 million between two players who may or may not be long-term solutions.
And in any event, one of those guys will be the backup if Mayfield lands in Carolina.
That’s also without mentioning PJ Washington and 2022 draft pick Matt Corral, who also make up the Panthers’ quarterback room.
It seems fairly obvious Darnold isn’t the long-term answer in Carolina; but is Mayfield?
Or could Mayfield simply mentor Corral while he continues to develop on the bench?
Either way, $18.8 million is a pricy tutor.
If the Browns could eat $12-$14 million of the salary, there’s probably no question a deal could get done.
But that’s a steep price for Cleveland to pay.
Not only are trade talks ongoing between the Panthers and Browns, but apparently discussions are simmering.
Per ESPN’s Kimberly Martin, trade talks between the teams are “heating up” and a deal could potentially get done by the end of the weekend.
Mayfield in a Panthers jersey by the weekend would be a major breakthrough.
It would also be the official end of Mayfield’s career in Cleveland.
Since his arrival in 2018, Mayfield has been unquestionably Cleveland’s best quarterback in the 21st century.
Mayfield inaugurated the most successful era in the 21st century for the Browns, as well.
The #Browns ditching Baker Mayfield (the first decent QB they’ve had in 2 decades) just to have it blow up in their face is the most Cleveland Browns thing i’ve ever seen
— Blake Antkowiak (@SSDBlake) June 8, 2022
Think about it this way: since 2000, the Browns have picked in the top-eight of the first round a whopping 13 times.
Over the same stretch, the Patriots have selected in the top-eight just once.
His finale might not have been the grand exit fans expected, but there’s no denying that Mayfield brought a level of relevancy and legitimacy to a franchise starving for it.
Can he do the same in Carolina, which is also starving for a quarterback solution after moving on from Cam Newton two years ago?
Only time will tell.