On Wednesday the Cleveland Browns agreed to send 2018 No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a 2024 conditional fifth-round pick. The teams will share the financial ramifications of Mayfield’s fifth-year option.
A new QB in Carolina: The #Panthers are acquiring former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield from the #Browns for a 2024 conditional 5th-round draft pick, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. Deal is pending a physical. All parties split the financials to make it happen. pic.twitter.com/xuTLqosmZm
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 6, 2022
With Mayfield’s value at an all-time low, his arrival in Carolina doesn’t get any easier, considering one of the Panthers’ wide receivers recently said he didn’t want the former Heisman Trophy winning Oklahoma Sooners signal-caller. Talk about a vote of confidence.
In April, when NFL Insider Ian Rappaport reported via Instagram that the Panthers were the likely landing spot for the disgruntled and disregarded quarterback, Anderson was quick to send a rebuttal underneath saying:
Anderson tried to clarify the comments by saying he was just sticking up for Panthers starting quarterback Sam Darnold at the time, telling reporters:
“I said what I said, you know. That was just thinking out loud and my thoughts, you know? I was just trying to be a good teammate to my quarterback. Defend the guy who is my quarterback in a sense, you know?”
Anderson even defended Darnold against notions that the team could possibly trade for Deshaun Watson, who took Mayfield’s job in Cleveland.
“That’s my quarterback,” Anderson said. “I gotta make him right and stand up for him.”
Yes, Darnold is your QB, but Mayfield is now your teammate and could soon be the leader of your offense, which could make for an interesting dynamic. Once people become teammates, opinions about each other can change and sometimes beautiful relationships develop. Head Coach Matt Rhule’s job is dependent upon finding a stable QB.
Anderson Says He Has No Issue With Baker After Trade
Following the trade, the former Temple Owls speedster, who played for Rhule in college as well, tried to clean up the mess. He doesn’t want to get on the bad side of a QB who has a reputation of freezing out star receivers he doesn’t get along with.
“I don’t have an issue with Baker stop tryna paint the narrative.”
I don’t have an issue with Baker stop tryna paint that narrative. pic.twitter.com/52GhVHget4
— Anderson R, Chosen (@chosen1ra) July 6, 2022
While that may be true, the story has legs because of Anderson’s past comments when he didn’t have to play nice as a teammate. And if Mayfield is named the starter or gets to be starter at some point it will be an even bigger story.
The situation with Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr., in Cleveland was about Mayfield’s reported unwillingness to throw the football to OBJ even when he was clearly open. That in itself will resonate again if we see the former Sooners star under center.
No Matter Who The QB Is, They Have Weaponry In Carolina
Whether it’s Darnold or Mayfield under center, they’ll have no shortage of talent at their disposal. With running back Christian McCaffrey returning from missing 23 games over the past two seasons, the dual-threat magnificence of “White Lightning” will be complemented by a trio of capable receivers in DJ Moore, the aforementioned Anderson, and second-year receiver Terrace Marshall.
The hope is that Mayfield can return to his 2020 form and be the long-term solution under center for a Panthers program moving upward. Mayfield will have to beat out the incumbent in Darnold, who was selected in the same draft as Mayfield.
The new-look Panthers offense 👀 pic.twitter.com/7yVp3ETrur
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) July 6, 2022
Either way, it’s not a bad situation for the Panthers. The franchise can officially put Cam Newton in the rearview and have two promising former top-five picks looking to revive their floundering NFL careers.