Baker Mayfield – Carolina Panthers QB
Expectations were high once the long-awaited trade that brought Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers was confirmed. The quarterback was the latest high-profile gamble by the organization in pursuit of improvements under center, which turned out to be another massive flop in difficult circumstances and eventually cost Matt Rhule his job.
Mayfield’s last outing at the Baltimore Ravens mustered three points behind a non-existent run game and saw the Panthers go back to Sam Darnold. This is a scenario most thought wasn’t possible given how much the USC product struggled in 2021.
The impressive game management and efficiency from Darnold in Week 12 were encouraging and enough for Steve Wilks to name him the starter after Carolina’s bye week. If P.J. Walker also returns from a high-ankle sprain, a situation could emerge where Mayfield becomes a healthy scratch when it’s all said and done.
This would cap off what’s been a dramatic fall from grace where Mayfield is concerned. The former Oklahoma phenom wasn’t dealt the best hand imaginable by Rhule upon joining the Panthers, but dependability was clearly an issue for Wilks as he looks to prove he’s capable of leading this organization back to prominence.
The last two years have been disastrous for Mayfield’s career aspirations. Whether another team will view him as a viable backup is debatable, but his leadership and ability to adapt in the face of adversity is at least something the signal-caller has going for him.