The surprise team is the “likeliest” landing spot for Baker Mayfield

One team to keep an eye on the potential trade for Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is the Carolina Panthers.

Live from his car on Friday’s episode The Pat McAfee ShowIan Rapoport of The NFL Network said that the team he sees quarterback Baker Mayfield traded from Cleveland Browns to is the Carolina Panthers.

After briefly losing connection and McAfee’s attention, Rapoport returned to the bright side of the internet to answer second-hour co-host AJ Hawk’s hard-hitting question about the fate of the former Browns quarterback. Rapoport said he doesn’t understand Mayfield’s affinity with the Seattle Seahawks since they already have Drew Lock and Geno Smith. He has Carolina on his mind.

In short, Rapoport believes an NFC team in dire need of a starter (Carolina) or a team looking for a high-end backup like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be where Mayfield will play out his contract year .

NFL rumours: Carolina Panthers are a dark horse team set to trade for Baker Mayfield

Seattle’s re-signing of Smith is sure to make the Seahawks trade harder for Mayfield. Although all four NFC South teams could technically be in the game for Mayfield, Rapoport seems to think Mayfield could beat Sam Darnold for the Panthers job as well as Blaine Gabbert for the Tampa Bay backup job. Of course, it doesn’t feel like a deal will happen until the dust settles after the NFL draft.

Carolina, Seattle, the Atlanta Falcons, and the New Orleans Saints are all teams that could well pick a first-round quarterback two weeks from now. The Panthers are picked at No. 6, the Falcons at No. 8, the Seahawks at No. 9 and the Saints with a teenage pair they could repackage to move up into the top 10. Regardless, Mayfield’s market is growing after the NFL draft.

Right now, it would be foolish to trade him in the 2022 NFL draft (Matt Corral, Sam Howell, Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder, Malik Willis) with five potential first-round picks at the quarterback position. Though Carolina could pick any of those five, the Panthers could be just the team the Browns use to orchestrate a trade involving their former No. 1 overall pick.

What the Panthers decide in 6th place could ultimately shape the entire NFL Draft and its consequences. The surprise team is the “likeliest” landing spot for Baker Mayfield

John Verrall

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