Panthers were only team interested in trading for Baker Mayfield

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Are you wondering how the Carolina Panthers got themselves such a sweet deal for Baker Mayfield? Well, wonder no more!

Yahoo Sports senior NFL reporter Charles Robinson joined 92.3 The Fan’s Baskin & Phelps on Thursday to discuss the swap of the now former Cleveland Browns quarterback. But before both sides finally came to terms on Wednesday, some of the groundwork began on the second day of the 2022 NFL draft back in April.

“The Panthers’ initial offer, I think, was something like the Browns eat $15 million,” Robinson said. “$15 million of Baker’s salary, we’ll send ya, I think it was a fifth-round pick. And then there was—if you wanna eat $13 million, it’ll be a sixth . . . I don’t know, it was something ridiculous.”

Obviously, it was too ridiculous for the Browns at the time—as trade talks cooled and the Panthers, instead, made a move for Ole Miss star Matt Corral in the third round later that night. Cleveland then decided to wait on a larger market for Mayfield to develop . . . except it didn’t.

“The problem was, nothing really developed elsewhere,” Robinson added. “Seattle—every time I talked to Seattle, they were like, ‘Oh, we’ll just wait until they’re gonna cut him.’ And I’m like, ‘They’re not gonna cut him.’ They’re on the hook for the salary. And the word I got from Seattle was, ‘We’re not interested, unless he’s a free agent.'”

Prior to the trade, the Seahawks were perceived as the Panthers’ only competition for Mayfield’s services—if you could even call it that. (Turns out, you couldn’t.)

As a result, Carolina was able to squeeze Cleveland for $10.5 million of the $18.8 million guarantee. They then took on just under $5 million while also getting Mayfield himself to trim $3.5 million off his base salary, which he can recover through incentives.

So, it’s all about the leverage, baby.

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