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NFL

The Baker Mayfield trade and what it means for the Browns, Panthers

With Baker Mayfield now traded to the Panthers, we take a look at how things could look for both Carolina and Cleveland, who might lose Deshaun Watson.

Update:
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll doesn't expect any trades ahead of 2022 season.
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Remember when Baker Mayfield said he felt “disrespected 100%” and frustrated following the Cleveland Brown’s decision to acquire Deshaun Watson as the starting quarterback?

Well, finally the 27-year-old QB was able to do something about it, even though he was equally frustrated with how long it took the Browns to make something happen.

Cleveland trades Mayfield to Panthers for future draft pick

On Wednesday, Cleveland traded the former No. 1 pick to the Carolina Panthers, ending whatever anticipations were out there that the Browns would start Mayfield, as they once told him they would. Mayfield spoke of his frustration at his youth football camp on June 30:

In return for the trade, Cleveland will receive a fourth- or fifth-round pick in 2024, depending on Mayfield’s playing time in Carolina. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Panthers will pay $4.85 million of Mayfield’s salary, while the Browns will pay $10.5 million. To facilitate the deal, Mayfield agreed to convert the rest of his $18.8 million salary into incentives, which he can earn back based on team performance.

Mayfield to compete with Sam Darnold, again

The Panthers now have the two quarterbacks who competed for the No. 1 pick in 2018: Sam Darnold, who ended up as the No. 3 overall selection, and Mayfield, who was the No. 1 overall pick.

And with no intention of trading Darnold after receiving Mayfield, both players will have to compete once again for the right to be Carolina’s starting QB this season.

Additionally, the Panthers selected QB Matt Corral in the third round of this year’s NBA Draft.

The Browns with or without Watson

The Mayfield trade comes only months after the Houston Texans signed Deshaun Watson for five years, in the richest deal in NFL history. The $230 million deal was in return for three first-round picks, making the Browns the first team to do that for one player since the Minnesota Vikings acquired running back Herschel Walker in 1989, for three first-rounders to the Dallas Cowboys.

While the Browns still have their valuable Watson, it is unknown whether the former Texan, who’s still awaiting his fate regarding the 24 sexual assault allegations, would even play for the Browns this season. The NFL has been pushing for a suspension for at least a season, as per ESPN’s Dan Graziano, who reported that the league and its Players Association attempted to reach a settlement several times while the hearing, led by jointly appointed disciplinary officer, Sue L. Robinson, was still taking place.

Related: Deshaun Watson’s hearing is over; what’s happening next?

Watson’s hearing concluded on Thursday after three days, and there is no timetable for Robinson’s decision just yet.

Mayfield to take on the Browns soon

In case Watson does not play in the league this season, the Browns have Jacoby Brissett and Josh Dobbs at quarterback.

As for Mayfield, who’s been keen to move on from the Browns for a while, the Austin native will be on the other side of the field when Cleveland takes on the Panthers in Week 1 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 11.

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