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Baker Mayfield Rumors: Browns, Panthers 'Didn't Come Close' to a Trade During Draft

Doric SamMay 2, 2022

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JANUARY 09: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns reacts as he walks off the field after Cleveland defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 21-1 at FirstEnergy Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Prior to the 2022 NFL draft, many had speculated that the Carolina Panthers would be a viable landing spot for disgruntled Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com reported Sunday that despite the two teams entering into negotiations, those talks didn't get very far before coming to an end.

"They didn't come close to a deal," Pluto wrote. "That's what I heard from a high-placed NFL source about the Browns' trade talks with Carolina concerning QB Baker Mayfield that collapsed Friday."

The Panthers already have a starting quarterback in place in Sam Darnold, who was selected two picks after Mayfield in the 2018 draft. Carolina also secured its quarterback of the future by using a third-round pick to draft former Ole Miss signal-caller Matt Corral.

Mayfield is trying to force his way out of Cleveland after the Browns acquired quarterback Deshaun Watson in a blockbuster trade with the Houston Texans this offseason. Cleveland gave Watson a historic five-year contract extension worth $230 million, which is fully guaranteed.

Watson, a three-time Pro Bowler, sat out the entire 2021 season amid allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. While he will not face criminal charges, Watson still has 22 active civil lawsuits against him. It is not yet clear if he will face any discipline under the NFL's personal conduct policy.

A roadblock for a potential trade involving Mayfield is his guaranteed $18.9 million salary for the 2022 season. While every team in the league knows Cleveland is looking to unload the former No. 1 overall pick, it's unlikely that any franchise will want to part ways with assets to take on such a significant cap hit.

Mayfield, who is recovering from offseason surgery to address a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder, is known for being extremely confident in his abilities as a player. However, as time passes, it's looking less and less likely that another team is interested in making him its starting quarterback.