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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Browns Cut Losses, Clear Space in Baker Mayfield Trade to the Panthers

  • Cleveland will save over $8M in cash and salary-cap space as a result of the move — but will still pay him $10.5M this season.
  • This offseason, the Browns gave Deshaun Watson a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million deal — the largest in NFL history.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Four years removed from being selected first in the 2018 NFL Draft, and only months after Deshaun Watson was brought to Cleveland, Baker Mayfield is leaving town.

On Wednesday, Mayfield was traded to the Carolina Panthers for a 2024 conditional fifth-round pick, the team announced. The final deal is pending a physical.

The 27-year-old is just the third No. 1 overall pick since 1967 — after JaMarcus Russell and Jeff George — to last four seasons or fewer with the team that he debuted with.

It ends months of speculation after Mayfield formally requested a trade from Cleveland following the franchise’s historic, controversial signing of Watson, who received a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million deal — the largest in NFL history.

There are several financial implications from the deal.

  • The Browns will pay $10.5M of the fifth-year option left on Mayfield’s contract, while the Panthers will pay about $5M, per Mike Garafolo.
  • Mayfield agreed to trim about $3.5M off of his base salary in order to facilitate the trade.
  • Cleveland will save over $8M in cash and salary-cap space as a result of the move.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that Watson is even going to play, as he’s facing a possible suspension after at least 24 women accused him of sexual misconduct.

By mid-April, the Browns had spent a staggering $340 million in guaranteed money this offseason.

The team is spending the second-most money ($62.1M) on QBs this season after the Rams.

Yet, without Watson and Mayfield, it would likely be Jacoby Brissett, making $4.7 million, taking the snaps for Cleveland to start the season — beginning September 11 in Carolina.

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