5 Carolina Panthers players unlikely to return in 2023

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /

Baker Mayfield – Carolina Panthers QB

Much like the situation with Sam Darnold, things don’t look too promising for Baker Mayfield in pursuit of an extended stay. However, the quarterback is getting one final opportunity to prove his worth after P.J. Walker suffered a high-ankle sprain that will keep him out in Week 11 and possibly beyond.

Mayfield’s trade from the Cleveland Browns hasn’t gone well so far.

One could point to the needless quarterback competition in training camp or Matt Rhule’s controlling presence restricting the offensive game plan. But the former Oklahoma sensation’s performances just weren’t good enough and unless this changes in the coming weeks, the Carolina Panthers will cut ties with Mayfield without hesitation.

This might be a foregone conclusion, in any case. Carolina looks primed for a top-end draft pick unless they go on a winning run down the stretch, which is the perfect time to finally find a long-term franchise quarterback despite the presence of 2022 third-rounder Matt Corral.

Whether the Panthers need a veteran on board in the short term remains to be seen. Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud look the most pro-ready, but the likes of Anthony Richardson, Will Levis, Hendon Hooker, or Michael Penix Jr. might need a little time before assuming starting responsibilities.

That will be the least of Mayfield’s concerns given he’s fighting for his own NFL future. Something that could be determined by how he performs this weekend and in the games to come.

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