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MMQB: Panthers 'Monitoring' Baker Mayfield Trade amid Sam Darnold, Matt Corral Battle

Erin WalshMay 23, 2022

Brian Bahr/Getty Images

It appears the Carolina Panthers have not ruled out a trade for Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The Panthers are "monitoring" a Mayfield trade as Sam Darnold and rookie Matt Corral battle for their starting quarterback job, according to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. However, Breer noted the Browns would have to retain the majority of Mayfield's $18.9 million salary in 2022 in order for Carolina to move forward on a deal.

"Of course, if the Browns eat more salary sooner, I think the possibility exists he could be moved to Carolina (or Seattle) in the next few weeks," Breer wrote. 

The Athletic's Jeff Howe reported Friday that the Browns and Panthers made some progress in trade negotiations before Carolina drafted Corral in the third round. 

Mayfield has been a trade candidate since the Browns acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans in March. However, some wonder if the franchise might hold on to him to start the 2022 season as Watson faces a possible suspension under the NFL's personal conduct policy.

Twenty-two women filed civil cases alleging Watson committed sexual assault and sexual misconduct.

That said, Mayfield requested a trade before the team acquired Watson, telling ESPN's Adam Schefter it's "in the mutual interest of both sides for us to move on" and that their relationship is "too far gone to mend." It's unclear if he'd be open to starting the season in place of Watson. 

Carolina's interest in Watson isn't a surprise. The Panthers traded for Darnold in 2021 as a potential quarterback of the future, but he didn't prove he could play better than his days with the New York Jets. 

Darnold completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,527 yards and nine touchdowns against 13 interceptions in 12 games. He also missed time with a shoulder injury.

In addition, Corral is unproven and coming out of a 2022 quarterback class that was viewed as weaker than in years past. 

With a lot of unknowns, the Panthers wouldn't have much to lose in giving Mayfield a shot in 2022 before he becomes a free agent, provided the Browns eat some of his salary. 

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