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Report: Browns Not Expected to Trade Baker Mayfield Prior to NFL Draft

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Browns QB Baker Mayfield

While the Carolina Panthers’ interest in disgruntled Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has been rumored for weeks, do not expect a trade for him  until after the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft later this week.

According to a report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Carolina is not expected to trade for Mayfield, if at all, prior to the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday. The Panthers will instead allow the first round to play out before making any decisions on acquiring Mayfield.

Furthermore, Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline is reporting that the league-wide consensus is that Mayfield will be dealt on the second or third day of the draft. Pauline is also reporting that the Browns are expected to have to pay a “large portion” of Mayfield’s salary after he is traded away.

Mayfield understandably became disinterested with remaining a Cleveland Browns after the franchise traded for his replacement in Deshaun Watson this offseason. The former first-overall pick has thrown for 14,125 yards and 92 touchdowns with 56 interceptions. Mayfield has led the Browns to a single playoff win and a 29-30 record as the club’s starter.

There has been speculation that the Pittsburgh Steelers could be a potential landing spot for Mayfield, but the Browns would likely have to release him outright in order for that to happen. Any trade market, even after the draft, would seem to preclude that from happening. The Browns will also not save any money under the salary cap by releasing Mayfield, so they have little incentive to release him if they can’t work out a trade.

If the Browns trade Mayfield, they could absorb some of his cap hit by converting salary to signing bonus before the trade. Such move would let Cleveland get something in return for Mayfield, while getting some of his salary off the books and let the Browns dictate his destination, avoid a messy return with a rival like Pittsburgh.

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