Baker Mayfield Rumors: Browns Motivated to Trade QB; Latest on Panthers and Seahawks

Erin WalshApril 22, 2022

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 03: Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) looks on during the game against the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 03, 2022 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Baker Mayfield's time with the Browns is almost certainly over after Cleveland acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans last month, and, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, the franchise is "highly motivated" to move the veteran quarterback. 

"The Browns are highly motivated to get this done, preferably before or around draft time," Fowler said Friday on SportsCenter. "They've got six days to create that urgency; they want that $19 million guaranteed money off their salary-cap books. The best way to do that is to trade him. If they cut him, they still have to eat a lot or all of that money. Teams know that, so they're sort of waiting in the weeds here. There just really hasn't been a strong market."

Fowler also provided an update on the Carolina Panthers' and Seattle Seahawks' levels of interest in Mayfield.

"The Carolina Panthers have been implicated here," he said. "I've asked around and I don't get the sense they're major players on him right now. I believe the Panthers inside their building are torn at best on the prospects of Mayfield, but if they don't get their quarterback in the draft with either the sixth overall pick or later on, they could move on Mayfield as sort of a backup option at this point. Seattle still a team to watch here as well."

Fowler's comments come after ESPN's Matt Miller reported last week that a trade for Mayfield isn't expected before the second round of the 2022 draft. 

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport also mentioned on the Pat McAfee Show that the Panthers were considered the "most likely" landing spot for Mayfield and that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also made some sense as a potential destination. 

Carolina could be a reasonable destination for Mayfield given Sam Darnold's struggles in 2021. Before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury, the former New York Jet underperformed, completing 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,527 yards and nine touchdowns against 13 interceptions in 12 games. 

Mayfield, meanwhile, led the Browns to the playoffs in the 2020 season. And although he's rather inconsistent, it's not necessarily surprising that the Panthers might view him as an upgrade over Darnold. 

The Seahawks were mentioned as a a potential destination for Mayfield after they traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. However, Seattle currently has Drew Lock and Geno Smith and could add another quarterback in the draft, so it doesn't seem like a plausible landing spot.

Earlier this week, Mayfield mentioned during an appearance on the Ya Never Know podcast that he felt disrespected by the Browns because they weren't transparent with him and there was a lack of communication between both sides. 

“Because I was told one thing, and they completely did another," Mayfield said (via Ryan Glasspiegel of the New York Post). "That’s what I’m in the middle of now. And you know what? OK. I got my taste of it, because I’ve had four different head coaches in four years. A bunch of different coordinators.”

Browns general manager Andrew Berry told reporters Friday that the franchise was "very transparent with his reps" and that he could understand how Mayfield feels about the situation. 

Even if the Browns don't work out a trade, it seems likely that Mayfield will be released. The team also signed Jacoby Brissett to be Watson's backup, so there's no room for the 2018 first overall pick.