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Baker Mayfield, a former No. 1 overall pick, is reportedly on the move from the Cleveland Browns months after the team acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans.
The Browns traded Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick, the NFL Network reported Wednesday. The deal is pending a physical.
The Browns announced the agreement later.
“Baker Mayfield infused our organization with tenacity and grit during his time as our starting quarterback. Baker’s competitiveness, toughness and ability to persevere were all characteristics that endeared him to our city as well as his teammates,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said. “He will always have a unique place in Browns history for what he accomplished and we wish him well as he continues his career.”
The Haslams, who own the Browns, also released a statement on the Mayfield trade.
“We want to thank Baker for all his contributions to the Cleveland Browns. From the moment he was drafted, he gave his all for this organization and this city. With his fierce competitive spirit, he excited the fanbase and accomplished things that no player at his position had done in Cleveland for a very long time. He also made a difference in the community, whether it was hosting events at the Boys and Girls Club, honoring our troops, supporting the Special Olympics as well as countless other charitable endeavors. We are grateful for everything he did for this organization and wish him and Emily well in the future.”
Carolina will now have a competition for the starting quarterback job. Mayfield will battle Sam Darnold, who was taken in the same draft as Mayfield but by the New York Jets. Mayfield got his first crack at quarterback against the Jets and Darnold in Week 3 of the 2018 season. Mayfield led the Browns back from an 11-point deficit to win the game 21-17.
To make things even more interesting, the Panthers are set to play the Browns in Week 1 of this season. It’s unclear who will be the starting quarterback in Cleveland. Watson is set for the long term but is facing potential discipline over two dozen civil lawsuits that accused him of sexual assault. Watson settled 20 of the 24 lawsuits. Jacoby Brissett is the other quarterback on the Browns’ roster.
Mayfield spent four seasons with the Browns. He led Cleveland to a playoff win in 2020. It was their first playoff win since the 1994 season. It was also Cleveland’s first playoff appearance since 2002 and first winning season since 2007.
His 2021 season was in disarray as he tried to play through injuries. In 14 games, he had 3,010 passing yards, 17 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions.
According to the NFL Network, the Browns will pay Mayfield about $10.5 million this season and the Panthers will pay him roughly $5 million.
Carolina was 5-12 last season and finished last in the NFC South. The team was 29th in points scored and 30th in yards gained.