The Cleveland Browns completed their expected divorce from former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, sending the quarterback to the Carolina Panthers for a 2024 conditional fifth-round draft pick on Wednesday.
The deal is pending a physical.
The fifth-round pick could convert to a fourth-round pick depending on Mayfield's playing time with the Panthers.
A barrier to a potential Mayfield trade to Carolina had been money, with Mayfield due to earn $18.8 million on his fifth-year option. But NFL Network reported all parties worked together to make it work. The Browns will pay Mayfield about $10.5 million, with the Panthers picking up about $5 million.
Mayfield agreed to cut the remaining $3 million-plus off his pay.
He will not have long to wait to see his former team. The Panthers host the Browns in Week 1 on Sept. 11 in Charlotte, N.C.
In Carolina, the 27-year-old Mayfield will compete with Sam Darnold for the starting job. Darnold was selected No. 3 overall by the New York Jets in 2018 -- the same year the Browns took Mayfield No. 1 in hopes he'd stop the game of musical chairs at the position in Cleveland. But Darnold didn't impress in his one season in Carolina last season after a trade from the Jets.
Mayfield was 29-30 as the starter with the Browns and completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 14,125 yards, 92 touchdowns and 56 interceptions. After an injury-marred season in 2021 and growing discontent between the two sides, the Browns' front office said Mayfield would be their starter in 2022. But their acquisition of Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans in March, despite more than 20 civil lawsuits from women alleging sexual misconduct, sealed the split with Mayfield.
The Browns are awaiting a ruling as to whether the NFL will suspend Watson after an investigation and a multiday hearing conducted last week by league disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson last week.
Two grand juries in Texas elected not to indict Watson.
--Field Level Media