Maybe we should start by laying out what we know.
First, Mayfield isn’t suiting up for the Browns this season.
He’s made his position quite clear, requesting a trade after the Browns brought in Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Back in March, the Browns pulled off a trade for the former Clemson signal-caller that, morals and ethics aside, was also bonkers football decision.
In essence, the Browns have jettisoned their future for a player who may not suit up this season, given the two dozen sexual assault and misconduct lawsuits that he faces.
Second, it seems like the Browns have zeroed in on a date to the Mayfield Prom: the Carolina Panthers.
The biggest sticking point in negotiations are Mayfield’s $18.8 million salary this season.
The Panthers hope to get Cleveland to pony up and pay a large chunk of that salary.
But for all the interest in where Mayfield will play next season, there’s considerably less interest in what the Browns might get back in a trade.
Maybe that’s because Mayfield’s stock is so low?
But is it so low that it’s unmentionable?
But, could one of his Carolina teammates be on the chopping block?
Enter Robbie Anderson.
Robbie Anderson is a six-year vet, having spent his first four seasons with the New York Jets before heading south to join the Carolina Panthers in 2020.
I’m told the #Panthers are still doing its due diligence in terms of looking into QB Baker Mayfield —the football player and the person, per league source.
— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) June 17, 2022
In Carolina, Anderson teamed back up head coach Matt Rhule — Anderson played under Rhule at Temple University.
Anderson’s career is a bit scattered.
In his first year with the Panthers, Anderson eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving for the first (and only) time in his NFL career.
He got close as a sophomore with the Jets, going for 941 yards in 2017.
But 2021-22 was a down year for Anderson.
He went for only 519 yards, despite starting 16 games and receiving only 25 fewer receptions than his strong 2020-21 campaign.
Anderson nearly doubled his touchdown total, though, upping 2021-22’s three scores to five last season.
Anderson is critical to what Carolina hopes to achieve on offense, so why are there lingering rumors he might end up in Cleveland?
(Not) Baker’s Man
Anderson recently ripped off a string of since-deleted tweets, including suggesting he might retire.
Robbie Anderson tweeted this and quickly deleted it… 👀 pic.twitter.com/26Z4MCsloL
— OutOfSightSports🚀 ™️ (@OOSSports) June 12, 2022
He also voiced his position by commenting on another tweet suggesting the Panthers should trade for Mayfield, writing “Nooooo.”
Lest you think Anderson wants a change of scenery, he explained in a presser that the tweet meant quite the opposite:
“I said what I said. Just trying to be a good teammate to my quarterback. That’s it. Just trying to defend the guy who is my quarterback. You understand? That’s it.’’
And ergo we have rumors that Anderson would rather play in Cleveland than with Mayfield.
But before you go out and buy a customized Anderson Browns jersey, understand that this is almost entirely not going to happen.
The Panthers are not a healthy organization.
And unhealthy organizations tend to make awful decisions when they feel pressured or backed into a corner.
But including anything except a seventh-round pick and cash considerations in a deal for Mayfield would be ludicrous.
Let alone sending a team’s best receiver along as well.
Unless the Browns are adding some sort of additional compensation for Anderson, this isn’t a move likely to happen.