The Carolina Panthers have moved on from the quarterback they traded for just five months ago, as Baker Mayfield has been released, the team announced Monday.
The Panthers sent the Cleveland Browns a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick in exchange for Mayfield. The fifth-round pick could have converted to a fourth-rounder based on playing time, but with his release, that will not happen. Mayfield was originally due a fully guaranteed $18.85 million in the final year of his rookie deal. The Browns agreed to pay Mayfield $10.5 million in 2022, while the Panthers agreed to pay about $5 million. Mayfield also reportedly agreed to take about a $3.5 million pay cut in order to be moved.
Mayfield got the start at quarterback to begin the year, but a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 5 knocked him out of the lineup. He went 1-5 as the starter for Carolina, and completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 1,313 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions in seven total games played. The Panthers will move forward with Sam Darnold as the starting quarterback, and P.J. Walker as his backup.
It has certainly been a wild year for the former No. 1 overall pick. Mayfield went from the Browns franchise quarterback on the cusp of signing a new deal to requesting a trade in the same year. He then got a shot to show the Panthers he could be a legitimate starter, but was released just seven games into his Carolina tenure.
Per CBS Sports cap expert Joel Corry, Mayfield will be a $1,349,445 waiver claim, and the Houston Texans will have first dibs at claiming him. It will be interesting to see where Mayfield could go. The Texans are certainly an option, but so are the San Francisco 49ers, who just lost starter-turned-backup-turned-starter again Jimmy Garoppolo to a season-ending foot injury. The 49ers are in perfect position to make a postseason run, but given how it's so late in the year, maybe Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch end up passing on Mayfield and rolling with the young Brock Purdy who knows their system. Either way, Mayfield is available, and looking for his next NFL home.