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Browns deal Mayfield to Carolina

NFL notes

CLEVELAND — Baker Mayfield’s wild four-year ride in Cleveland is over.

The No. 1 overall pick in 2018, Mayfield was traded Wednesday by the Browns, who moved on from the divisive quarterback months ago and finally sent him to the Carolina Panthers for a future draft pick.

Mayfield, who was pushed out of his starting job amid the Browns’ pursuit of Deshaun Watson, is going to Carolina for a conditional draft pick in 2024 or 2025.

The Browns are paying $10.5 million of Mayfield’s $18.8 million contract for next season, two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The Panthers will pay $4.8 million and Mayfield will take a $3.5 million pay cut, said the people, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the trade can’t be finalized until Mayfield passes a physical.

Mayfield can earn back some of the money through incentives. Also, if he plays 70% of Carolina’s snaps next season, the pick the Browns are receiving will be a fourth-rounder in 2024.

The trade was announced by both the Browns and Panthers, who coincidentally will meet in next season’s opener in Charlotte, a matchup spiced up by Mayfield switching teams.

Mayfield’s time with the Browns effectively ended in March when the team traded three first-round selections and six overall to the Houston Texans for Watson, who is facing a possible NFL suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct by two dozen massage therapists in Texas. The league’s disciplinary officer is expected to rule on Watson before the Browns open training camp later this month.

Mayfield, who played most of last season with a left shoulder injury, felt betrayed by Cleveland’s move for Watson, demanded a trade and then had to wait until the Browns found a team both interested in him and willing to take on his salary.

Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam thanked Mayfield for his contributions.

“From the moment he was drafted, he gave his all for this organization and this city,” they said. “With his fierce competitive spirit, he excited the fanbase and accomplished things that no player at his position had done in Cleveland for a very long time. He also made a difference in the community, whether it was hosting events at the Boys and Girls Club, honoring our troops, supporting the Special Olympics as well as countless other charitable endeavors.”

The 27-year-old will compete for Carolina’s starting QB job with Sam Darnold, who was taken two picks after Mayfield in 2018.

Flag for Olympics?

Flag football will be played at an international, multi-sport event for the first time next week during the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama.

The NFL may be the sport’s biggest cheerleader.

“When we talk about the future of the game of football, it is, no question, flag,” NFL executive Troy Vincent told The Associated Press. “When I’ve been asked over the last 24 months, in particular, what does the next 100 years look like when you look at football, not professional football, it’s flag. It’s the inclusion and the true motto of ‘football for all.’ There is a place in flag football for all.”

Vincent points to the growing number of men and women playing flag football globally. He’s encouraged that six states — Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and New York — have sanctioned flag football as a varsity sport in high school with 20 more states interested or in the process of piloting to get it sanctioned.

Multiple NFL clubs support high schools in their respective states with helping fund the initiative. The Atlanta Falcons unveiled a girls flag wall in their stadium in May. The league says 450 schools, and more than 10,000 girls participate in flag football across the country.

It was an important step when the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics declared women’s flag football as an emerging sport in 2020. The National Junior College Athletic Association did the same.

“It’s a cost-effective sport feasible for all to play,” Vincent said.

The NFL partnered with the International Federation of American Football to bring flag football to The World Games with an eye on the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“That’s the ultimate goal to make flag football an Olympic sport,” Vincent said.

Falcons sign DT

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Atlanta Falcons acquired run-stopping help for the middle of their defensive line, signing former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman to a one-year deal Wednesday.

Goldman, 28, started 73 of 81 games in six seasons with the Bears.

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