When will the Carolina Panthers name Baker Mayfield QB1?

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /

After a series of outstanding practices in training camp, when will the Carolina Panthers officially name Baker Mayfield as their QB1 in 2022? 

The Carolina Panthers wanted increased competition at the quarterback position and a legitimate battle during their training camp this summer. A method that hadn’t been used previously under Matt Rhule, but something that those in power felt would benefit the organization and any hopes they have for progression in 2022.

Splitting reps with the first-team unit has been evident throughout. But after an outstanding week of practice following some initial rust, Baker Mayfield looks like a class apart following his high-profile switch from the Cleveland Browns.

Mayfield has taken on this new challenge with an exceptional attitude, integrating well with his teammates and gradually picking up the demands of Panthers offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo for good measure.

This has seen the signal-caller produce a series of memorable highlights throughout Week 2 in Spartanburg. Something that’s led many to believe this battle for the No. 1 spot is all but over.

However, Rhule stated following Saturday’s scrimmage that the Panthers will continue splitting reps until after their preseason game and joint practices against the New England Patriots. Something the former Baylor man stated would be the litmus test for the duo.

"“I’m not putting a timetable on the quarterback position until after we get back from the Patriots week. The Patriots week is a true litmus test for us. That will really show us where guys are.”"

The Panthers didn’t acquire Mayfield for him to sit on the sidelines. His integration into the system and the franchise overall has gone far better than expected and although Sam Darnold represents an expensive problem, Carolina cannot move forward with the USC product after such a poor season under center in 2021.

There is something different when Mayfield is distributing the football. It’s noticeably caught the eye this week and if it continues into the regular season, then the Panthers’ chances of making a splash will increase significantly.

When will the Carolina Panthers name Baker Mayfield QB1?

Splitting reps between Mayfield and Darnold was fine during the initial stages of camp. But in truth, the Panthers cannot continue with this method for much longer.

The sooner Mayfield is handed full responsibilities with the first string, the better his timing and chemistry will become before taking the field against the Browns – his former team – in Week 1.

If Rhule feels some sense of connection to Darnold after sacrificing three draft selections to acquire him from the New York Jets, he shouldn’t. The NFL is a ruthless business and even though it might cost the Panthers a substantial amount of dead-cap, keeping him around will also hinder Matt Corral’s development if Carolina goes with three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.

The starter is not in question. Mayfield has become an instant alpha, demonstrating leadership and consistency in equal measure despite having little time to adjust after the Panthers held out for a good deal rather than overpay for a player surplus to requirements before the draft.

There is a chance Carolina lets this go on a while longer yet. But with preseason games on the immediate horizon, it would be wise for Rhule to at least form a depth chart that has Mayfield sitting atop given his adjustment and the fact he is simply better than Darnold in every way.

Darnold’s had a solid camp, by all accounts. But Mayfield has that cutting edge that’s been missing since Rhule took over and perhaps even further back than that.

Mayfield is the man that will lead Carolina next season. His production is also slowly generating excitement within those that were a little skeptical of the move, to begin with.

And that was always going to be half the battle.

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