Baker Mayfield Trade Rumors: Panthers, Browns Talks Continue on Day 2 of NFL Draft

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 29, 2022

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JANUARY 09: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns looks on during warm-ups before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

There was only one quarterback selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, which means the position could be in the spotlight as the event continues Friday.

It may be in the spotlight for more than just the prospects, as NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers have continued discussing a potential Baker Mayfield trade.

However, Pelissero also noted the quarterback's contract that pays him more than $18 million for the 2022 campaign "complicates" the discussions.

There has been plenty of quarterback movement this offseason, including Russell Wilson going to the Denver Broncos and Deshaun Watson heading to the Browns. Some type of decision on Mayfield has felt fairly inevitable since Watson joined Cleveland, but the situation remains in limbo after the first round of the draft.

Carolina remains a logical destination assuming it doesn't see Sam Darnold as a franchise quarterback.

While Liberty's Malik Willis, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder, Ole Miss' Matt Corral and North Carolina's Sam Howell all remain on the draft board heading into Friday's second and third rounds, the Panthers don't have another pick until the fourth round (137th overall pick) on Saturday.

If they wanted to add a quarterback in this draft, they likely missed their best opportunity to do so when they selected offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu with the No. 6 pick of the first round.

That could leave them turning to the trade market, and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com recently reported Carolina "has the inside track to land" Mayfield in trade discussions. Cabot also reported the 2018 No. 1 overall pick would "likely" be ahead of Darnold on the depth chart if he ends up in Carolina. 

"I think we'll look at every opportunity out there," Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer told reporters after the first round of the draft. "There's still some really good players in this draft. And we'll also look at every opportunity outside the organization."

How the quarterback market unfolds in the rest of the draft could ultimately determine when and if Mayfield is moved, but the reported connection with the Panthers still remains after they chose not to take a signal-caller in the first round.