Baker Mayfield Traded to the Panthers: Sportsbook React with Shifting Odds for Futures Markets

On Wednesday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero first reported that the Cleveland Browns had traded quarterback Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick. The Browns took on $10.5 million of the $18.8 million he was owed to make the deal happen, while the Panthers restructured his contract and ended up with a $5 million cap hit.

Baker Mayfield’s Trade Value

While the Browns are still awaiting news on Deshaun Watson’s potential (likely?) suspension, there was no viable future that included Mayfield on the roster following the decline of his relationship with the organization. However, the trade market for quarterbacks had dried up after Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, and Carson Wentz had already been moved this offseason.

There were essentially two possible landing spots for Mayfield – the Seahawks and the Panthers. Mayfield is also coming off his worst season as a pro, a campaign that included a completely torn labrum and several lower-body injuries (left heel, right knee, groin). With those factors in mind, teams were hesitant to take on his $18.8 million cap hit.

Panthers’ Futures Odds Change

According to BetOnline’s odds, Baker Mayfield is -500 to be the Panthers’ starter in Week 1, while Sam Darnold’s odds are at +300. On DraftKings, the odds were -1200 for Mayfield and +500 for Darnold. Following the trade, the Panthers’ futures odds changed significantly across several markets.

At BetMGM Sportsbook, the Panthers’ Super Bowl odds shifted from +15000 to +12500 while they were boosted from +12500 to +10000 at Caesars Sportsbook. At BetMGM, the Panthers’ odds to win the NFC South moved from +1200 to +1000. At PointsBet, the Browns went from +12500 to +10000 to win the Super Bowl.

The Panthers also moved from +6000 to +5000 to win the NFC and +1200 to +1100 to win the NFC South at Caesars Sportsbook. The industry still has the Buccaneers as the heavy favorites to win the division. The Panthers are still available at around +450 to make the playoffs, and with three Wild Card spots up for grabs, that could be an intriguing bet.

Can Baker Mayfield Bounce Back?

Injuries derailed Baker Mayfield’s 2021 season, but he should have a solid chance to play well this year. DraftKings set his initial over/under for touchdowns at 22.5 and passing yards at 3,800.5. After 13 interceptions in 2021, Mayfield’s interceptions prop is set at 13.5 for this season.

My initial projections for the Carolina offense following the trade have Mayfield at 3,976.7 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, and ten interceptions, so I would lean towards the over on the touchdowns and yards and the under on interceptions.

Keep an eye on the Comeback Player of the Year market this season, as Mayfield should be in the conversation, assuming he starts the entire year for Carolina. A quarterback has won the award in each of the past four seasons, and if the Panthers make a playoff push, the odds should be in Mayfield’s favor for the award.

Week 1 Matchup on Deck

In an epic twist of fate for all involved parties, the NFL schedule had already slated the Panthers and Browns to face off in Week 1. It will be fascinating to see Mayfield fired up for a revenge game opportunity against the franchise he feels scorned him after he led them to their first playoff appearance in almost 20 years.

The odds for that Week 1 matchup moved from -2.5 to -1 at FanDuel Sportsbook, the first book to repost the game following the trade. The Browns’ Moneyline odds were shortened to -118. The Browns had opened as 4.5-point favorites when the initial odds were released, which has been steamed down due to the uncertainty surrounding Deshaun Watson’s availability.