Carolina Panthers are ready to make Baker Mayfield their starter
It’ll come as no surprise to most, but the Carolina Panthers could finally be ready to officially name Baker Mayfield as their starting quarterback for the 2022 season.
According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, the decision could be mere days away, ending a long offseason where the Panthers made Mayfield split reps with Sam Darnold before determining an overall victor.
"“Baker Mayfield is expected to be named the Panthers starting QB for Week 1, per sources. He’s been competing with Sam Darnold but should be declared the starter when the team is ready to make the announcement.”"
The Panthers made Mayfield earn it, which he has in no uncertain terms. But the sooner their QB1 is given the lion’s share of snaps in practice, the better their chances will be next season.
Considering how late Mayfield came into the fold, time is of the essence. The signal-caller’s made significant strides in a short space of time, but building momentum before Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns is of critical importance.
What this means for Darnold is unclear. It’s unlikely Carolina will find a trade partner without taking on a significant amount of dead cap, so the Panthers might have the league’s most expensive backup on their hands.
That’s irrelevant for Mayfield, who has a major opportunity to bounce back instantly after a disappointing 2021 season and some poor treatment by the team that drafted him No. 1 overall.