From the surface trying in, it appears the Cleveland Browns held out so long as doable to commerce Baker Mayfield. 2018’s No. 1 total choose was traded to the Panthers for a fifth-round draft choose in 2024 that may convert to a fourth-rounder primarily based on enjoying time, because the Panthers proceed to attempt to determine their scenario at quarterback.
The extra curious facet of the deal, nevertheless, was the cost construction. NFL groups will generally take up cap reduction for the workforce a participant is dealt to, however it’s way more frequent within the NBA, NHL, or MLB than it’s in soccer. The Panthers will reportedly pay Mayfield $5.5 million this yr somewhat than his full $18.9 million. The Browns are absorbing $10.5 million of his wage and Mayfield negotiated a pay lower that he can reportedly earn again through incentives.
There are a myriad of explanation why the Browns would do that, and so they principally come right down to leverage. The Panthers, in the meantime, have already got a quarterback with Mayfield’s very same preliminary cap hit on their roster in Sam Darnold.
Each quarterbacks are on the fifth-year possibility of their rookie offers and will probably be free brokers after the season.
Extra: The #Browns pays Baker Mayfield $10.5 million this season, which suggests they trimmed over $8 million in money and salary-cap house. The #Panthers pays Mayfield ~$5 million. Mayfield agreed to trim ~$3.5 million off his base wage.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 6, 2022
GRADES: Browns, Panthers each deserve an ‘F’ for Baker Mayfield commerce
Baker Mayfield contract: Why did the Browns pay a part of 2022 wage?
The Browns had minimal leverage within the Mayfield scenario, and the groups they had been negotiating with knew it. Upon buying and selling for Deshaun Watson, it was abundantly clear Mayfield and the Browns had been heading for a break up.
Mayfield posted what amounted to a goodbye to Cleveland and its followers, and whilst talks of Watson’s suspension heated up, he confirmed no curiosity of returning to the fold to play out the remainder of his contract. Mayfield strengthened this by not exhibiting up for workforce actions.
For the Panthers, the cash was undoubtedly a non-starter. They already had Darnold on the identical cap hit, and that will have tied up about $38 million — that is between Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford cash — in Darnold and Mayfield.
As well as, Mayfield spent parts of final season injured (and enjoying via accidents), which visibly hampered him on the sphere.
All of this was underneath the proper storm of the Browns getting into an especially busy quarterback market extremely late within the sport. Russell Wilson had already been dealt and the Matt Ryan deal occurred extraordinarily shortly after the Falcons did not land Watson.
All issues advised, the Browns might solely ask for a lot for Mayfield if they honestly wished to deal him, and so they hardly had a selection however to take action except they wished him to stroll for nothing after the season.
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What’s subsequent for the Browns?
Even with the $10.5 million on the books for Mayfield, the Browns are in a team-friendly quarterback place. They solely have $1 million tied up in Watson this season earlier than the time to pay the piper (relying on his suspension standing) comes up subsequent yr.
Jacoby Brissett is on a one-year deal value $4.65 million this season. So for his or her three “high” quarterbacks, the Browns are paying nearly $16 million this yr. Loads of room to construct round short-term.
Mayfield’s contract comes off the books subsequent season, and naturally is he performs this season how he does will in the end decide what his market seems like subsequent yr.