ESPN: Baker Mayfield Eyed Panthers Trade 'Mainly for Any Chance to Play Elsewhere'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVMay 9, 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

Baker Mayfield wants to play football next season and he doesn't particularly care where.

At long as it's not in Cleveland.

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported Mayfield was open to being traded to the Carolina Panthers during the NFL draft  "mainly for any chance to play elsewhere." The Panthers ultimately chose not to trade for Mayfield and selected Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral in Round 3.

Carolina reportedly wanted the Browns to eat most of Mayfield's $18.8 million salary to agree to any trade. When Cleveland balked at the idea, the Panthers were able to zero in on Corral when he dropped to pick No. 94. General manager Scott Fitterer told reporters the team plans to now stand pat at the quarterback position. 

"I never put an absolute on anything," Fitterer told reporters. "We came into [the draft] with the intention of getting a quarterback, and that's what we did. And we're going to go with this group."

Mayfield has been angling for a trade out of Cleveland for nearly two months. While the Browns have worked at honoring Mayfield's request, they have found a tepid market. Mayfield is coming off an injury-plagued, miserable 2021 season that saw his stock drop around the league.

The 2018 No. 1 pick now has four seasons of wildly inconsistent tape under his belt. As a rookie and in 2020, Mayfield looked the part of at least a quality NFL starter. In 2019 and 2021, Mayfield's been one of the league's worst starters.

Part of his struggles last season can be attributed to a shoulder injury that forced him to wear a harness for most of the year. That said, teams are understandably wary of paying $18.8 million and giving up a draft pick for a quarterback who may not be a top-20 option on his best day.