The Cleveland Browns wrapped up a significant piece of offseason business on Wednesday when they traded quarterback Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional 2024 draft pick. The Browns are giving up a fifth that could turn into a fourth depending on playing time considerations.
And we get to waste little time getting a revenge game on the books. The Panthers are scheduled to host the Browns Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season. The teams face off in the 1 p.m. ET window on CBS, and it’s safe to say the broadcast coverage will increase for that one. It won’t be the early game of the week, but it will get a bit more coverage than it would have prior to the trade.
The move is not surprising. Even before trading for Deshaun Watson, the Browns made it clear they were looking to move on from Mayfield. The Panthers were on the short list of teams that made sense from a cap and depth chart perspective. Carolina acquired Sam Darnold a year ago, but he’s proven over his career that he’s not a long-term answer for anybody.
Mayfield has plenty of his own issues, but when healthy he offers more upside than Darnold. He can do better work in the RPO offense that Carolina will favor, and it would be a minor upset if he is not starting by Week 1. He is learning a new playbook, but it’s offensive play-calling that should offer some familiarity for him. He’s now got three weeks before training camp to digest the playbook, but that plus 5+ weeks of camp and preseason action should be enough to have him starting when the Browns come to town in Week 1.