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Most around the league believed/assumed/knew that Baker Mayfield would be traded to the Carolina Panthers. That belief continued even after trade talks broke down between the Cleveland Browns and Panthers during the NFL draft.
For most, it was a question of “when not if” it happened.
Curiously, the Mayfield to Carolina trade happened a couple of days after July 4th. Nothing has changed for either team since the end of minicamp a couple of weeks ago, when the Panthers got to see Sam Darnold and Matt Corral, so why now?
Financially, it was pretty well known what Cleveland and Carolina were willing to pay of Mayfield’s contract. It is possible that Mayfield decided to give up guaranteed money to facilitate the deal after talking about his frustrations at his youth camp in Oklahoma.
The curious timing does benefit the Browns and their Week 1 matchup with the Panthers. While Mayfield may not have been able to do a ton on the field due to his shoulder surgery, he missed vital time in the offseason program with the Panthers.
Ben McAdoo’s system may be similar to one of the many Mayfield has played under in the NFL but the details are the most important thing for a quarterback. He will have a couple of weeks before training camp to start reviewing the playbook but the truncated timetable to get comfortable with the offense will likely limit him in Week 1.
That is one of the biggest reasons the Panthers were, reportedly, pushing for a trade to get done during minicamp sessions.
Cleveland’s trade of Mayfield will be discussed for years to come and ad nauseam leading up to his Week 1 matchup with his former team. Unfortunately for the former Heisman Trophy winner and his new team, his preparation time in the transition is significantly limited.