Baker Mayfield traded to Panthers: Winners, losers in deal that sends former No. 1 total decide to Carolina

There’s a new quarterback in Carolina. On Wednesday, the Panthers acquired former No. 1 total decide, Baker Mayfield, in a commerce with the Cleveland Browns, CBS Sports activities NFL Insider Jonathan Jones confirms. Carolina will ship a conditional fifth-round decide to the Browns that may flip right into a fourth relying on Mayfield’s enjoying time. 

Whereas this commerce is solely between two groups, it is going to have a domino impact that may stretch nicely past Cleveland and Carolina. Beneath, we’ll cowl all of the winners and losers which have come out of the newest commerce within the NFL.

Winner: Baker Mayfield


The final word winner in all that is Baker Mayfield. He’d beforehand requested a commerce out of Cleveland because the group landed Deshaun Watson earlier this offseason and now he will get his want. For a minute, it did appear to be there was a chance (nonetheless slim) the place the Browns would not commerce Mayfield and hope they mend the fence within the occasion that Watson is handed an enormous suspension for his off-the-field points. Nevertheless, this deal now eliminates the opportunity of an ungainly/pressured reconciliation.

Not solely does Mayfield get out of Cleveland, however he additionally lands with a Panthers group that has some intriguing weapons together with operating again Christian McCaffrey and wideout D.J. Moore, to go together with a sturdy offensive line that options 2022 first-round decide Ikem Ekwonu at left deal with.  

Financially, Mayfield did comply with trim $3.5 million off of his base wage to assist facilitate that commerce, however he can earn that cash again in incentives, per the NFL Network. So, Mayfield finds himself out of Cleveland and right into a scenario the place he’ll be the Week 1 starter with out having to tackle a lot monetary danger. It is a win all the best way round for the previous No. 1 total decide. 

Loser: Cleveland Browns

There’s nonetheless loads of uncertainty surrounding the Browns’ scenario underneath middle. The NFL was pushing for Watson to face an indefinite suspension of at the very least one season. If disciplinary officer Sue. L. Robinson guidelines that manner, Cleveland’s ceiling on the quarterback place will drastically fall. With Mayfield gone, Jacoby Brissett could be the clear-cut choice to start out if Watson is suspended. Whereas it might have been an uphill battle to attempt to reconcile with Mayfield, he does have expertise in Kevin Stefanski’s offense and could be the higher choice of the 2 for the Browns to be aggressive in Watson’s absence. 

In the meantime, a fifth-round decide that might flip right into a fourth is hardly an earth-shattering return. The Browns are additionally reportedly paying the chunk of Mayfield’s contract for 2022. Per the NFL Network, Cleveland is shelling out $10.5 million of Mayfield’s deal, whereas the Panthers pays him $5 million.

Regardless of clearing some cap house and ridding itself of a participant that requested a commerce, Cleveland is at the moment very uncovered if the hammer is dropped on Watson over the subsequent few days/weeks. 

Winner: Carolina Panthers

The Panthers improved at quarterback and it did not price a lot to take action. As we famous above, the Browns are paying the majority of Mayfield’s contract and Carolina solely wanted to ship a conditional fifth-rounder for the previous No. 1 total decide. 

Whereas Mayfield has had some ups and downs all through his four-year profession, he’s arguably the very best quarterback that the Panthers have introduced in since Cam Newton’s first stint with the group got here to an finish following the 2019 season. Each Mayfield and Sam Darnold — the membership’s 2021 starter — got here into the league in 2018, however Mayfield has loved extra success. For his or her careers, Mayfield’s 87.8 passer ranking is significantly better than Darnold’s 76.9 passer ranking. With that expertise enhance, Mayfield’s presence ought to enhance the general ceiling for Carolina’s offense.

Once more, getting higher at an important place within the sport and doing so at such a low price makes this a no brainer transfer for the Panthers. 

The underrated piece to this deal is the repercussions it is going to have throughout the NFL and particularly the NFC West. 

The Seattle Seahawks had been one of many groups that had been pegged as a possible touchdown spot for Mayfield after they traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos earlier this offseason. At present, Drew Lock and Geno Smith are anticipated to duke it out for the beginning job in camp, however Mayfield could be a significantly better choice than both of these two heading into 2022. 


As Seattle might have to enter the season with both Lock or Smith, one other loser in all that is Jimmy Garoppolo. He and Mayfield had been the 2 remaining quarterbacks left to be moved and Carolina appeared to be probably the most logical touchdown spot for Garoppolo, just because the one different vacation spot for the 49ers quarterback to start out was in Seattle. Would San Francisco be keen to commerce Garoppolo inside the division solely to compete in opposition to him twice a yr? Even when the Niners had been keen to have the dialog, the asking value for Garoppolo would probably be bumped up as a result of it could be an inner-division commerce. 

So, Mayfield touchdown in Carolina is de facto the worst attainable end result for these two sides. Garoppolo loses what would have been the clearest avenue to start out in 2022 and Seattle misses out on bettering at quarterback at a comparatively low-cost price. 

Winner: Jacoby Brissett


With Mayfield heading to Carolina, Jacoby Brissett is in line to start out for the Browns if/when Watson is handed a suspension. This provides Brissett one other alternative to showcase his expertise for what could possibly be as much as a full season. The 29-year-old signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Browns this offseason and if he performs nicely in 2022 for nonetheless lengthy he’s the starter, it might result in a extra sturdy market subsequent yr and be paid as probably the greatest backups within the league. 

Brissett has 37 begins underneath his belt all through his six-year NFL profession and has a profession completion proportion of 60.2 and an 83 passer ranking.

Loser: Sam Darnold


Until the Panthers flip round and commerce Darnold to the Seahawks and he wins that job, this transfer nearly actually ensures that Darnold is not going to be a beginning quarterback in 2022. On the very least, it appears to be like like he’s one-and-done because the starter in Carolina after going 4-7 in his 11 begins for the Panthers in 2021. 

After flaming out in New York, Darnold was traded to the Panthers final offseason and there was hope that the previous first-round decide might rebuild his standing within the league with this alteration of surroundings. Nevertheless, after a marketing campaign the place he threw extra interceptions than touchdowns and accomplished simply 59.8% of his passes, it by no means got here to fruition. 

Now the query is whether or not or not Darnold will ever be checked out as a starting-caliber quarter once more.  

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