Report: Panthers owner David Tepper saw Baker Mayfield as depreciated asset

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Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper is, above all, a businessman—and an overwhelmingly successful one at that. So the guy knows about investments, maybe even the football ones sometimes.

On Friday, Joseph Person and Zac Jackson—of The Athletic‘s Carolina and Cleveland Browns beats, respectively—had published their chronicles on what was a two-month back-and-forth for quarterback Baker Mayfield. The report detailed the what, when and how of the elongated negotiations—a process described as a “game of chicken.”

Ultimately, Mayfield ended up with the Panthers this week—as the teams settled on compensation (a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick) and payouts on Mayfield’s $18.8 salary. And it was the latter, as Person and Jackson describe, that held up the deal for this long.

“The Browns knew they’d have to swallow at least some of Mayfield’s salary, and they also knew it’d be a potential sticking point,” the article reads.

That sticking point led to Cleveland eating up $10.5 million, Carolina eating up $4.86 million and Mayfield himself waiving $3.5 million from his base. But, as later noted, Tepper and the Panthers wanted Mayfield to give up even more before an agreement was met—over $7 million to be a bit more accurate.

The reason for this, obviously, was because the 64-year-old billionaire saw the former No. 1 overall pick as a depreciated asset. And, well, he wasn’t wrong.

Mayfield had not lived up to his billing over his four-year career, became a dispensable and disgruntled third wheel following the Browns’ acquisition of Deshaun Watson and is coming off surgery on a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Additionally, the Panthers—according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports—were the only serious bidder for Baker in the trade market.

All of that, of course, resulted in the bargain Tepper, general manager Scott Fitterer and head coach Matt Rhule were able to pull for their quarterback room.

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