Report: Panthers wanted Browns to pay $13-14 million of Baker Mayfield’s salary

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Four weeks ago, the Browns and Panthers talked about a possible trade for quarterback Baker Mayfield. The deal didn’t happen because the two teams couldn’t come to an agreement as to the amount of Mayfield’s $18.8 million guaranteed salary that would be paid by the Browns.

The gap was too large. While it’s unclear what the Browns were willing to pay, the Panthers reportedly wanted the Browns to shoulder most of the financial burden.

As noted by Jonathan M. Alexander of the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers wanted the Browns to pay $13-14 million. That would have kept Carolina’s obligation in the range of $5-6 million.

Another important factor, that currently isn’t known, becomes the trade compensation that the Panthers would have sent to the Browns. The less the Panthers give by way of pick(s), the more of Mayfield’s salary the Panthers would be willing to pay. Conversely, the higher the price in picks, the lower the salary.

The Panthers ultimately pivoted to quarterback Matt Corral in the draft. In a post-draft interview with #PFTPM, Panthers G.M. Scott Fitterer suggested that the door potentially remains open on a trade for a veteran quarterback.

“I would say quarterback or any other position, if there’s someone out there that we think can help us, we’ll keep our minds open,” Fitterer said. “We have the money set aside to make several different moves and that was important for us to do. We want that flexibility but if someone can help us, regardless of position, we’ll make a move at some point.”

The Browns need to decide whether to trade Mayfield or to keep him around. They possibly may need Mayfield. However, Mayfield quite possibly may have no desire to remain in Cleveland — even if Deshaun Watson ultimately is suspended for a full year.

With Mayfield guaranteed to make $18.8 million even if the Browns release him, the Browns could decide to keep Mayfield around into the regular season and up until the trade deadline. Whether Mayfield goes along with that approach becomes a different issue. Whether it’s in the team’s best interests to have yer another potential distraction becomes a different issue, too.

Through it all, the clock is ticking. Mayfield needs to play and play well somewhere in 2022 to set the stage for a solid free-agent payday in 2023. For now, it’s fine. Before too long, it won’t be.

21 responses to “Report: Panthers wanted Browns to pay $13-14 million of Baker Mayfield’s salary

  1. Has any NFL QB went from the face of the franchise to irrelevant quicker than Baker?

  2. I don’t understand why Carolina would haggle over salary. They need a QB, Mayfield may or may not be that guy but there is a better chance of him working out than anyone else on the roster. Just pay the full salary and get the deal done, if it doesn’t work out you move on in a year

  3. 18 million reasons why Baker should do whatever is asked of him by the Browns.
    If they don’t trade him now they certainly will later on when the bargain rate goes away with Injuries or bad play of other starting qb’s.

  4. The only way the Browns don’t end up paying for Baker’s salary is to package him with at least a second round pick (probably need to add a 3rd or 4th) in trade for at best a 6th rounder. The Brown’s front office isn’t very bright, no way does Baker play for them and any halfway smart coach would never rely on him after what was done to him. Two other teams may be in play for a QB, Cards and Ravens may find it a lot cheaper to walk away from their gadget running back/ quarter back as neither seems to be anywhere worth what they think they should be paid.

  5. It was a fair offer to ask the Browns to pay 15 million of the contract . They didn’t want to do so now the Browns are stuck with him and the Panthers we’re smart drafting a QB.

  6. I don’t know why the Browns wouldn’t take that deal, or something in that range. Haslam opened the vault for Watson, but they’re gonna sit on Baker because of his contract? It makes no sense.

  7. Watson getting suspended for an entire season and Mayfield refusing to play for them would be such a beautiful thing to see. The Browns are their own worst enemies.

  8. The interesting scenario with Baker is what does he do if/when Watson is suspended and the Browns tell him they expect him at training camp to compete with Brisett for the starting job. If he refuses-he is under contract and I believe the Browns could suspend him without pay. If he reports it’s a dumpster fire waiting to be ignited. Stay tuned. Same Bat time–Same Bat station.

  9. As you can see,… the Browns have taken the league lead in FUMBLES and the season hasn’t even started yet,…… go figure.
    I held hope for the Browns when they hired John Dorsey as GM,.. but since Jimmy Haslem just can’t leave good enough alone,… he fired the entire front office after 2 years of what takes 4 – 5 years to rebuild a team.
    As long as Haslem is meddling,… the Browns will be losers.

  10. papabuck says:
    May 26, 2022 at 10:34 am

    Has any NFL QB went from the face of the franchise to irrelevant quicker than Baker?

    Yes – Jamarcus Russell and the raiders!

  11. “It was a fair offer to ask the Browns to pay 15 million of the contract . They didn’t want to do so now the Browns are stuck with him and the Panthers we’re smart drafting a QB.”

    I disagree. Mayfield is a top 15 QB. The Browns paid Keenum over $6M/yr to be his backup. If a solid backup is worth $6M/yr, a starter is worth significantly more–and definitely more than the $4M/yr Carolina was willing to pay. They were penny wise pound foolish on this, particularly given that both coach and GM are on the hot seat. However much future promise Corral may have, he’s not ready to win NOW the way Baker is, and heads will roll because of it. The Browns are in a good enough cap situation not to be leveraged into giving Baker away for a song, and they were wise not to.

  12. papabuck says:
    May 26, 2022 at 10:34 am
    Has any NFL QB went from the face of the franchise to irrelevant quicker than Baker?
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Stick around don’t go far, I think the answer’s in front of us, DeShaun Jackson. And before “trolls” come out, keep one thing in mind, you could be Babe Ruth or anyone else, but unless you play, you’re irrelevant.
    And there’s been no sign to indicate that we’ll be seeing him play anytime soon.
    As for Baker Mayfield I’m praying this whole experience may have humbled him. I hope he gets a chance to get back on the field and change people’s negative opinion of his game.

  13. browns2042 says:
    May 26, 2022 at 2:55 pm
    The Browns are in a good enough cap situation not to be leveraged into giving Baker away for a song, and they were wise not to.

    Hiw the hell can the browns ever be in a good cap situation when they are paying a player over a quarter of the teams total salary and he may not ever play a down this year. I do feel sorry for the browns fans but this is just delusional

  14. Hiw the hell can the browns ever be in a good cap situation when they are paying a player over a quarter of the teams total salary and he may not ever play a down this year. I do feel sorry for the browns fans but this is just delusional

    The Browns are currently, accounting for Baker as well, second in the NFL in remaining cap space.

  15. “I don’t understand why Carolina would haggle over salary.”
    ————————————————————

    Because they’re already on the hook for $19 million with Sam Darnold.

    I don’t know why they don’t just trade Darnold for Mayfield, straight up. Salaries are the same.

  16. The bar is set so low now, we expect professional athletes to throw tantrums to get their way. Is collecting $18M, being a team player, and keeping your mouth shut just not an option in today’s league?

  17. People still don’t comprehend that the Browns had zero plans of getting rid of Baker so he is accounted into their salary cap meaning they have no incentive to make deals with anyone for him. You either pay what they want or you don’t get the guy because they’ve already factored him into their 2022 roster. Baker is the one who wants out and Baker is the one who didn’t do well enough for teams to want to take on his salary and if he holds out it’s not going to help his chances in free agency next year either.

  18. When Watson gets suspended for the year, the Browns will have to give Baker a RAISE to come back and play nice.

  19. Mayfield is guaranteed his $18M, but if the team keeps him on their roster, he has to show up to get paid. Failure to do so would result in the loss of that guarantee. The team doesn’t know if Watson will be eligible to play, so keeping Mayfield seems like the right move, for now. Mayfield is looking at getting a good contract with his next team, so he has to perform at a high level wherever he ultimately plays. The idea that he can hold out on the Browns just isn’t true.

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