4 crucial questions remaining for the Panthers in 2022 training camp

(Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu
(Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /

When will the Carolina Panthers name Baker Mayfield QB1?

It doesn’t appear to be if anymore.

More like when.

The Carolina Panthers made a bold move to acquire quarterback Baker Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns. Getting a good deal following a patient pursuit was all well and good, but it will count for nothing if the signal-caller didn’t make his presence felt right from the outset.

After sharing off some rust early in camp, Mayfield has taken off over the last few days, all but cementing his status as the team’s No. 1 for good measure. It’s not like Sam Darnold is performing poorly, but there just seems to be a different feel and far more intent when the Oklahoma product is under center.

This is a massive opportunity for Mayfield, who can silence the doubters who’ve questioned his play and overall character off the field during the offseason. Two things that have yet to rear their head in Carolina during a smooth transition to a different environment.

Just what this means for Darnold is unclear. He’ll either be the league’s most expensive backup option or moved on, which might be the best solution for all parties considering how poor the No. 3 overall selection was in 2021 after his high-profile switch from the New York Jets.

The sooner Carolina officially gives Mayfield prominent reps with the first unit in camp, the better his chances will be at forming enhanced chemistry with an abundance of talented playmakers. After so many mistakes at the most important position on the field, the Panthers will be all too aware of the implications that could emerge if they get another big call like this wrong.

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