Well, that answers one question.
The Browns will not be kissing quarterback Baker Mayfield’s “You-know-what” in order for him to play quarterback for the team once again. No matter the outcome of the Deshaun Watson decision, it won’t be Baker playing quarterback in Cleveland.
The Panthers and Browns will split Baker’s 18.86 million dollar contract as part of the deal. It’s a 2024 fourth or fifth-round pick (depending on playing time) that the Browns will get from Carolina.
Details on the contract via Mike Garafalo: “The Panthers will pay Baker Mayfield $10.5 million this season, which means they trimmed over $8 million in cash and salary-cap space. The Panthers will pay Mayfield ~$5 million. Mayfield agreed to trim ~$3.5 million off his base salary.”
Mayfield was drafted out of Oklahoma first overall by the Browns in 2018. He played four seasons with the Browns and had a combined record of 29-30.
Until the Browns traded for quarterback Deshaun Watson from the Texans, Mayfield was “The Guy.” After all, he did lead the Browns to the playoffs in 2020 and a playoff wild card win over the hated Pittsburgh Steelers, 48-37.
Mayfield struggled with shoulder problems, specifically a torn labrum in which he had to have surgery to repair.
After the 2020 season, there was a lot of hope that Mayfield could be the quarterback that leads to Browns to the playoffs (once more) and a Super Bowl in the future. However, it was the 2021 season in which the team went 8-9 (6-8 with Mayfield as the quarterback) that really derailed the front office’s faith in Mayfield.
This is yet another “bust” with the Browns at the quarterback position, especially the fact that Mayfield was taken with that number one overall pick in ’18.
An interesting note:
The Browns play their first game of the season against the Panthers in Carolina on Sep 11 at 1 p.m. It could be a “revenge game” for Mayfield and company playing against the Browns. Most likely, it won’t be Deshaun Watson starting for Cleveland but Jacoby Brissett or another quarterback.
This is just another sign that the Browns have faith that everything is going to work out with Deshaun Watson and company as the future progresses.
Best of luck, Baker. Sorry, it has to work out this way.