Baker Mayfield Rumors: Panthers Trade 'Realistic Possibility'; Browns QB 100% Healthy

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 23, 2022

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 03: Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) looks to pass 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

A Baker Mayfield trade to the Carolina Panthers "remains a realistic possibility," according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

Per that report, Mayfield is "100 percent recovered" from offseason surgery on a torn labrum in his left shoulder and will be "full-go for training camp."

Mayfield has been at the epicenter of NFL rumors since the Cleveland Browns made the blockbuster trade to acquire quarterback Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans on March 18.

Even before that deal went through, however, Mayfield said he wanted a divorce from the Browns.

"It's in the mutual interest of both sides for us to move on," he told ESPN's Adam Schefter shortly before the Watson deal. "The relationship is too far gone to mend. It's in the best interests of both sides to move on."

While Watson is potentially facing a lengthy suspension as the NFL investigates accusations of sexual assault and inappropriate sexual behavior from 24 women—Watson has settled out of court with 20 of those women in the civil lawsuits brought against him, and two separate grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against him—it appears unlikely that Mayfield will stick around as an insurance plan.

The relationship between Mayfield and Cleveland appears to be permanently damaged, and the Browns have Jacoby Brissett on the roster as well.

The Panthers, meanwhile, have been one of the teams most regularly linked to Mayfield, given Sam Darnold's mediocre play last season. One sticking point for both the Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks—the other team most regularly linked to Mayfield—has reportedly been how much of Mayfield's $18.9 million contract the Browns will be willing to eat in the deal.

IG: JosinaAnderson @JosinaAnderson

I’m told the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Seahawks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Seahawks</a> still have a high-level of interest in acquiring QB Baker Mayfield and behind-the-scenes are open to contractually extending him, per league source. I also know that the process of collecting information and insights into Mayfield is still ongoing.

Albert Breer of The MMQB said on the Rich Eisen Show (h/t SI.com's Daniel Chavkin) that the Browns have reportedly been willing to absorb as much as $9 to $10 million of Mayfield's salary.

But Breer added that the Panthers were only interested in a Mayfield trade if it was a salary "bargain" for them.

"If there was a good deal out for Mayfield for the Panthers, he might already be a Panther," he added. "If they were in a position where they only had to pay him $4 or $5 million, then I think there is a decent chance that Mayfield would be in Carolina now and Cleveland would have a draft pick for him."