CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers are interested in trading for Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and a deal could be worked up very soon, according to a report from NFL insider Jonathan Jones.
The Panthers began minicamp Tuesday, and it's unclear if Carolina will make a move to improve the quarterback situation before training camp in July. Carolina currently has veteran Sam Darnold on the final year of his rookie contract, as well as rookie Matt Corral. Mayfield has been on the outs with the Browns since they traded for Deshaun Watson earlier this year, and it seems that marriage is headed for a breakup after he was excused from the team's minicamp activities.
Head coach Matt Rhule praised Darnold for his work during voluntary workouts last week, saying any talks about adding another quarterback would wait until after this week's three-day minicamp. According to Jones' report, the Panthers would like Mayfield to join the team as soon as possible to learn the offense and familiarize himself with teammates before summer camp. As for Cleveland's side, Jones reported the Panthers have offered the best package for Mayfield.
It's unclear what the Panthers would give up, and Jones' report indicates the biggest hurdle is determining how much of Mayfield's salary each team would be responsible for. Mayfield's entering the final year of his rookie deal and is due $19 million.
Darnold struggled mightily in his first season with the Panthers. After helping the team to a 3-0 start, Darnold reverted into his New York Jets-era form, finishing the year with more turnovers (17) than touchdowns (14).
He was also under heavy pressure, sacked 35 times in 12 games.
"Sam has to keep working and developing, we've made the offensive line significantly improved in front of him," Rhule said. "We've seen Sam get better and better and better."