The Panthers and Browns may want a do-over on the 2018 NFL Draft.
Baker Mayfield (2018 No. 1 pick) and Sam Darnold (2018 No. 3 pick) have been linked in trade talks in recent months, but it looks like both passers probably won’t be involved in a trade with one another.
According to Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, any deal that involves a straight one-for-one swap of Darnold and Mayfield is “very unlikely.” That isn’t all too surprising, considering the contract status of both players.
Reports indicate that the Panthers have their eyes on Mayfield, but at a certain price — they want the Browns to pick up most of the passer’s remaining salary in any deal.
The Panthers would ultimately love to, somehow, get out of the final year remaining in Darnold’s deal before the start of the 2022 season. He’s making a fully guaranteed $18.858 million on the fifth-year option this year after a horrendous showing in 2021. Mayfield is making the same figure this season.
Mayfield is stuck in limbo after Cleveland traded for Deshaun Watson this offseason and extended him on a massive, fully guaranteed $230 million contract.
Watson, currently still embroiled in sexual assault allegations and civil lawsuits, is facing accusations from 26 different women. His status for the upcoming season is still pending league review, and no discipline has been issued yet. He did not play in 2021.
Earlier in the offseason, Mayfield said he felt he was going to wind up with the Seahawks, who are seemingly unsettled at quarterback after trading Russell Wilson this offseason. Seattle is currently entering 2022 with Drew Lock as QB1 on the depth chart.
For now, it looks like the two passers are going to stay put, but as the QB carousel continues to spin entering the summer, don’t expect Mayfield or Darnold to jump off it just yet.