Baker Mayfield eager to earn extended stay with Carolina Panthers

(Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /

Baker Mayfield made his intentions regarding an extended stay with the Carolina Panthers beyond the 2022 season evident during his first media engagements.

Even though the trade for Baker Mayfield is seen as a band-aid solution to an ongoing problem, the quarterback has already set his sights on earning an extended stay with the Carolina Panthers beyond the upcoming campaign.

This was a polarizing move among the fanbase. But from a production standpoint alone it’s hard to see how it wouldn’t be a big upgrade on Sam Darnold despite the team declaring this would be an open competition in training camp.

Mayfield brings proven pedigree in a playoff environment and a winning mentality that can sometimes rub people up the wrong way. Something Darnold has yet to experience during a turbulent four-year career to date and there was little progress shown from the USC product in 2021 following his trade from the New York Jets.

There was an incredible sense of anticipation surrounding Mayfield’s first media availability once the trade was officially rubber-stamped on Tuesday. Not surprising when one considers how many headlines the player’s generated throughout his time in the league so far.

Baker Mayfield is willing to fight for a long-term future with the Carolina Panthers

The former Oklahoma sensation is obviously keen to embrace the fresh start awaiting him after being cast aside ruthlessly by the Cleveland Browns, declaring his eagerness to compete, make the Panthers better, and hopefully do enough to convince those in power he is worthy of a bigger commitment down the line.

"“I want to be a starter, I want to be a franchise-level quarterback for years, and hopefully, it’s here in Charlotte. But for me, it was about competing, getting to a place where the competition is going to make me get better. And I want a level playing field, and I want to elevate the guys around me and be the best version of myself. I know it’s not going to be easy by any means, I’ve got to go earn it, but I’m looking forward to the competition and the challenge.”"

Fitterer stated during his own presser that this move was done with the short-term in mind initially. The Panthers are not going to make an early judgment call after being burned in a big way by triggering Darnold’s fifth-year option before a single practice – a mistake they are not going to make again in a hurry.

Mayfield has no doubt heard all the rumors swirling about his attitude, maturity, and ability to inspire those around him. A narrative he can hopefully quash when push comes to shove in a different environment with some teammates he knows well.

If Mayfield can get himself back healthy and to his 2020 production, Carolina might just be onto something. But there is also a situation that could emerge when things continue going south for a variety of reasons.

Only time will tell, obviously. Mayfield is a fiery competitor that demands a lot from himself and others around him, so it’ll be fascinating to see how this latest gamble under center unfolds in camp and when the real action commences.

This is a career-defining moment for Mayfield. Either his recent turmoil spurs him onto greater things, or he wilts under the spotlight with so much at stake.

Carolina is hoping the first scenario comes to fruition, which might just see Mayfield become the team’s long-term option when it’s all said and done.

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