5 games that will define Panthers QB Baker Mayfield’s 2022 season

(Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /
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As Baker Mayfield enters a new situation with much on the line, what are the most important contests this season for the Carolina Panthers quarterback?

Last month, the Carolina Panthers traded a conditional fifth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for former Heisman Trophy recipient Baker Mayfield. After four years in northeast Ohio, the quarterback has an opportunity to not only win the starting job but play himself into a long-term contract while simultaneously auditioning for other teams.

Every game of the season is meaningful in its own right. But some rise above the fold based on opponent, individual matchups, storylines, national television audience, playoff implications, and media attention.

As the team collectively attempts to climb back into the postseason after a four-year hiatus, individual players have also set contract-incentivized goals, records to chase and break, and circled specific games on the calendar they are highly anticipating.

Mayfield has gradually begun to impose himself on the Panthers in training camp. It took a few days to fully acclimatize to the way things are done in Carolina, but his swagger is returning and production has increased significantly since the start of padded practices.

As we are in the midst of training camp at Wofford College, let’s look ahead to the regular season at the five games that will truly define Mayfield’s first year in a Carolina uniform.