UPDATE: The trade is now confirmed but it’s pending a physical. Carolina later announced the acquisition.
The Cleveland Browns have agreed to trade quarterback Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a conditional draft pick, a source from NFL Network and confirmed to ESPN.
Depending on Mayfield’s playing time in Carolina, the Browns will receive a fourth- or fifth-round pick in 2024.
Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick in 2018, joins a Panthers team that currently has him along with Mayfield, the No. 1 overall selection in 2018. The Panthers also picked Matt Corral in the third round of this year’s draft.
The Cleveland Browns’ trade for Mayfield comes after the team’s blockbuster acquisition of Deshaun Watson. The Browns rewarded Watson with a record-breaking $230 million, five-year contract fully guaranteed, making him the NFL’s richest player by a staggering $80 million. In addition to three first-round selections, Cleveland gave up three more first-round picks in return for Mayfield; it was the first time since Minnesota traded three first-round picks to Dallas for Herschel Walker in 1989 that a club has done so for a single player.
The Watson trade effectively brought an end to Mayfield’s time in Cleveland. The Browns took the former Heisman Trophy winner No of 2018 and made his debut in Week 3 that season off the bench, rallying them to their first victory in 635 days. He went on to finish second in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting while setting a new NFL rookie record with 27 touchdown passes. In 2020, Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers broke this record with 31 touchdown throws.