Preparations for the 2022 NFL season are well underway, but for Baker Mayfield, the upcoming season remains a mystery.
Where he’ll play – or if he’ll even be afforded the chance to at all – has yet to be determined, and unfortunately for Mayfield, he’s a helpless accessory in his own case for playing time.
The Cleveland Browns own the keys to Mayfield’s football future, and for the time being, they’re content to keep those keys in their back pocket with hopes to flip Mayfield in exchange for maximum compensation.
What that looks like exactly has yet to be discovered. Thus, both Mayfield and Cleveland’s patience will be put to the test as the team scopes out options for his removal.
But one side is undoubtedly more comfortable playing the waiting game than the other. And according to Nick Wright, there’s another team that should be just as eager to acquire a new QB as Mayfield is to depart Cleveland. The team: the Carolina Panthers.
“[Mayfield’s] an obvious upgrade [for Carolina] at the most critical position in all of sports,” Wright opined Wednesday on “First Things First.”
“While we might not consider the Panthers in something of a win-now mode, they absolutely should consider themselves in that. Not only because the division – outside of Tampa – is totally in flux, but because Christian McCaffrey is their best player, and a running back’s clock is always ticking.
“You wouldn’t have to give up much via trade as far as draft compensation. The question is: Is Baker Mayfield worth $18 million, or do you want to wait and see if you can get him for $13 million or $14 million, and get the Browns to eat a little bit of that money? That would be penny-wise pound foolish. There’d be no reason to do that when getting him in the building gives you the best chance to succeed this year as soon as possible. Of course Carolina should trade for him.”
Baker Mayfield trade still on the table for Panthers | FIRST THINGS FIRST
It appears trade talks have sparked again between the Cleveland Browns and the Carolina Panthers, who are eagerly looking to acquire Baker Mayfield in time for the quarterback to participate in minicamp.
For Chris Broussard, there are only two circumstances in which Carolina should execute a trade of the sort.
“Don’t get me wrong, Sam Darnold’s looked horrible, but he hasn’t had the opportunities Baker’s had,” Broussard said.
“I would trade for Baker Mayfield under two circumstances. No. 1: Cleveland picks up the bulk of the $18.9 million, because if I keep Darnold, I don’t want to pay two quarterbacks anything close to $38 million, and I’m not enamored with either one of them.
“No. 2: People think the hold-up is the money. But could the hold-up be that Cleveland is waiting to see how long Watson’s suspension is? If he’s out six-to-eight games, they feel like ‘we can go with Jacoby Brissett.’ But If Deshaun Watson is out the whole season, are they satisfied with Joshua Dobbs as the backup to Brissett? The Browns maybe say, ‘Give us Darnold. Salaries are exactly the same’, and then Darnold is your backup, or you give him a chance to beat out Brissett. Ultimately, make the trade but no rush, take your time. Nobody is knocking down the Browns’ door to get to Baker Mayfield in a trade.”
Kevin Wildes argued that Carolina should trade Mayfield, but stressed that Mayfield should be weary of his options.
“Here’s my main question: Does Baker need a job or does he need a career? If he needs a job, I think he should say ‘yes, the Panthers.’ Teddy Bridgewater had the job where he went 4-11, and then Sam Darnold needed a job, and went 4-7. Then Cam Newton needed a job, and went 0-5. If he wants a career and I’m Baker, I say pass, ‘no thanks, Carolina.’”
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