Report: Panthers initially wanted Baker Mayfield to take $7 million pay cut

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Now that quarterback Baker Mayfield has passed his physical and the trade sending him to the Panthers is official, more details are beginning to emerge about the process that got him out from Cleveland.

One item comes from Zac Jackson and Joe Person of, who put together a timeline of the trade talks between the Browns and Panthers. According to their report, the two teams agreed on draft compensation over the course of May and early June — Carolina would send Cleveland a conditional fifth-round pick that would become a fourth-round pick should Mayfield play 70 percent of the Panthers’ offensive snaps.

But Mayfield’s pay continued to be a sticking point. According to the report, the Panthers initially wanted Mayfield to take a pay cut of more than $7 million. But Mayfield was willing to give up only $3.5 million of his $18.86 million guaranteed salary.

Head coach Matt Rhule and General Manager Scott Fitterer had wanted Mayfield to be a part of Carolina’s minicamp to learn offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s scheme. But Panthers owner David Tepper reportedly did not want to overpay for Mayfield, who he saw as a depreciated asset.

The Panthers eventually got the deal done by working out a contract that allows Mayfield to earn back his surrendered $3.5 million in incentives. That allowed the parties to agree to the trade on July 5, with word of it breaking on July 6.

The Browns are picking up $10.5 million of Mayfield’s salary in 2022, with Carolina paying $4.86 million.

28 responses to “Report: Panthers initially wanted Baker Mayfield to take $7 million pay cut

  1. The former number 1 overall pick is now a depreciated asset. Good lord. All the world is a stage

  2. So the Browns will be paying Baker 10M to beat them in week 1…Classic Cleveland.

  3. If they think Baker is a “depreciated asset”, what they call Cam last year? Good lord.

  4. Did Tepper have the opportunity to match Cleveland’s 230m guaranteed contract for Watson? Watson certainly would have selected Carolina over Cleveland.

  5. Tepper seems like the worst person to do business with. Like he’s competing with Snyder for the bottom.

  6. Panthers looked like they made a smart move for once and now it just looks like they got lucky from screwing it up by being cheap. Pitiful.

  7. David Tepper may very well be the best hedge fund manager on earth,… but when it comes to managing a professional football team he needs to take a step back. Being successful in business doesn’t translate to knowing how to run a football team. Let the people you hired do the work you hired them to do. The more he meddles,… the longer this team will struggle.

  8. I find it hilarious that people think the Panthers hosed the Browns. The media has been yelling from the rooftops that the Browns need to release Mayfield, that he has no trade value. The Browns however, refused to budge, even though they were on the hook for 18 million. Well Lordy Lordy Lordy what just happened? The Browns got a 5th and saved 8 million against the cap. All things considered they made out pretty well.

  9. It must be rough being a Panthers fan. Some hot shot hedge fund guy buys the team and runs his yap about being a winner and how he’ll “do whatever it takes to win”, but always comes up short. Now they have not one, but two average QBs on 1 yr deals and outside of a deep playoff run, neither will be back next season (nor will the Head Coach), so they’ll have to start all over again. The smart move would have been to keep Darnold, let him play until he’s terrible, put in Corral and if he fails, then get a top 3 pick and draft the best QB available. At least that plan gives fans hope. This year with Baker will be 6-8 wins, which puts them at around pick 10 and out of the running for the top QBs.

  10. If they don’t trade Darnold, they’ll likely have Mayfield starting at QB for $4.86m (what they are paying) and his backup will be paid $18m.

    And CLE will be paying $10m to NOT have Mayfield on the roster and a 5th round pick. What a world.

  11. 5M for a backup QB is about the norm. 18.8 for a starting QB is cheap. So the Panthers should have extra cap room for other people. Whether Sam backs up Baker or vice versa it doesn’t matter. I don’t think either is the long term answer, but Baker has surprised me already. Maybe Baker can get the Panthers back to respectability. He has the me against the world attitude that is necessary to take a down trodden team back to respectable.

    Darnold is a *GREAT* backup. His limiting factor is health. Talent wise he is an NFL starter, he is just hurt too often.

  12. Lets go Baker. Light it up and score that big pay day you deserve for playing injured all year.

  13. Why doesn’Tepper just fire Rhule at this point? Since he continually undermines him. Dude is worth billions but sees their potential starting QB as a depreciated asset?

  14. I hope the Panthers beat the Brownies 75 -7 and the owner of the Panthers has to take the
    crown from Danny boy as the worst owner in the history on the NFL.

  15. It’s amazing these two franchises had enough competence to complete the paperwork correctly in order to facilitate the trade.

  16. As if Opening Night isn’t going to be enough fun — Bills at Rams — now we have a juicy storyline for Sunday of Week 1. The only thing that would have made it better is playing it in Cleveland. Let’s see … Browns (with Jacoby Brissett at QB) at Panthers (with Baker). I think Vegas oddsmakers might favor the Panthers, no?

  17. So did Baker do his own paperwork for this trade, because I do not think neither organization is smart enough to get the job done.

  18. These talking radio/tv sports heads here in Cleveland are talking about the fact that none of the players are coming out wishing Baker Mayfield the best or they will miss him. EXCUSE ME. THEY STILL PLAY FOR THE GUY WHO THREW HIM OVERBOARD AND SIGNS THEIR CHECKS! THE OWNER. What does anyone expect them to do? Go against the owner? These sports guys in Cleveland really sound weak because nobody is willing to state the obvious. They are all weak because this is obvious.

  19. Not saying mayfield is worth it but tepper could have easily covered the difference with the $80 million he screwed his poor contractor out of by declaring bankruptcy.

  20. henrythehorse says:

    doesnt sound like Baker in Panthers long term plans..

    Totally agree – given the 31 team auction for Baker’s services that resulted in the acquiring team requiring a BIG compensation for salary and ONLY paying a 4th or 5th rd. pick – I’d say ‘Baker is in NO team’s long range plans’…

  21. Baker had a stacked team with the Browns and didn’t cut it in four years but somehow he’s supposed to now roll everyone with the Panthers roster and get even? With that Browns o-line, Kareem Hunt, and Nick Chubb you’d think the RPO would have been amazing. Oklahoma fans are hilarious.

  22. As a Texans fan, it’s been pleasure doing business with Cleveland. Both teams are going to be awful but only one of them gets both 1st round picks next year. Back to back picks at the top of the first round, baby!

  23. justsaying says:
    July 8, 2022 at 10:27 pm
    Baker had a stacked team with the Browns and didn’t cut it in four years but somehow he’s supposed to now roll everyone with the Panthers roster and get even? With that Browns o-line, Kareem Hunt, and Nick Chubb you’d think the RPO would have been amazing. Oklahoma fans are hilarious.

    I’d say he did “cut it”, sort of.
    2018: despite not starting the first 3 games, and despite changing HC and OC mid-season, he set the rookie TD record and led the team to more wins than they had in the 3 previous seasons combined (TD record since broken).
    2019: he was bad. the team was a mess with a completely overwhelmed 1st time HC. Still, Mayfield was bad.
    2020: with his 4th HC in 3 years and a new offense, Mayfield was pretty mediocre for a few games, then lit it up to lead the team to its first playoff win in a million years. 26 TDs, 8 ints … pretty darn good.
    2021: he was bad, but was physically compromised nearly the entire year. He should have sat himself, true, but the HC needed to exert leadership and benched Mayfield so BM could heal. By the way, until he was hurt, Mayfield had 80% completion percentage. Not bad. But, for the year, yes he was bad.
    So, I’d say yes, he did cut it, but it was mixed bag to be sure.

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