When the Browns and Panthers held trade talks regarding Baker Mayfield During the draft period, the AFC North team were reportedly unwilling to pay much of their former midfielder’s starting salary to move him. Cleveland may be coming.
The teams have been in discussions lately, and the Browns are now ready to pay more than Mayfield’s fully guaranteed $18.9 million salary to facilitate a deal. The team has moved into the $9-$10M range, SI.com’s Albert Breer said in an appearance on Rich Eisen Show (video link). This still doesn’t meet the Panthers’ asking price, Breer adds. It’s unclear where the parties are on the draft compensation, but controversy continues to surface about Mayfield eventually changing teams.
During the groups’ draft discussions, the Browns don’t go beyond the $3 million mark here. Carolina is said to want Cleveland receive at least $13 million in Mayfield’s salary to seal an agreement, creating an impasse that led to the cooling of the Mayfield-to-Charlotte noise. By not reaching the Panthers’ price point, the Browns family are betting on the Panthers – they’re in the quarterback led by Darnold and Matt Corral – meet their terms to ensure a better QB1 pick comes a few weeks before training camp. Urgency has emerged on the Carolina sideHowever Matt Rhule says that’s not the case. The game of chicken still exists.
The Panthers (and Seahawks) may continue to force the Browns to charge Mayfield’s salary on their books, but Cleveland – thanks in part to structuring Deshaun WatsonContract in a way to minimize the financial penalty the concerned QB will suffer if/when suspended – there is a huge cap lead in the rest of the NFL. As of Monday afternoon, the Browns hold more than $42 million in cap space. No other team owns $26 million.
If the Browns cut Mayfield, they could owe more than $17 million – thanks language offset in his rookie trade. Though some executives expect the Browns to finally cut the bait, they’ve maintained throughout the season that it won’t happen. By passing the minicamp with their scrutinized QB setups, the Panthers and Seahawks gained an expanded look at their internal options. But Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo, whose shoulder surgery in March will obscure his trading market until at least July, is still available. As long as that’s the case, the Carolina and Seattle QB situations will continue to make headlines.