This week, Baker Mayfield finally got the he'd been praying for. The Cleveland Browns sent their former No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional 2024 fifth-rounder. Money was a major issue in this transaction, but the two sides were able to work it out.
Mayfield was originally due a fully guaranteed $18.85 million in 2022. Per NFL Media, Cleveland will pay Mayfield $10.5 million while Carolina will pay $4.86 million. Mayfield also reportedly agreed to take about a $3.5 million pay cut, but the Panthers wanted him to take more.
According to The Athletic, the Panthers brass spoke with Mayfield and his representation around minicamp, and Carolina reportedly asked the Oklahoma product to take a pay cut of more than $7 million. Mayfield was willing to forfeit just $3.5 million, so a deal didn't get done at that time.
By the end of June, the financial negotiations specifically between the Panthers and Browns had finally become close to wrapping up, and a handshake was just on the horizon. The Panthers also created an incentives package that would give Mayfield a chance to earn back his $3.5 million pay cut. The incentives reportedly include making the postseason, winning a certain amount of games and statistics. Mayfield had secured a small victory by refusing to forfeit over $7 million.
This trade was a long time coming, as the Panthers were reportedly the No. 1 pursuer all offseason. While Mayfield is under contract for just 2022, he should provide an immediate upgrade at quarterback for Carolina. What happens after that, however, is anyone's guess.