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 TheAthletic.com, 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.