4 offseason decisions that severely cost the Carolina Panthers in 2022

(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) Robbie Anderson
(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) Robbie Anderson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /

Carolina Panthers traded for Baker Mayfield

The trade for Baker Mayfield appeared to be a good move at the time. The quarterback put together a solid season that led the Cleveland Browns to the playoffs in 2020, which indicated the acquisition to be a clear upgrade over Sam Darnold or P.J. Walker.

In the end, the Carolina Panthers coughed up a sixth-round pick for the quarterback, who ended 2022 with the Los Angeles Rams after he was let go by Steve Wilks once Darnold was ready to return.

The Panthers essentially gave away a draft pick for a player who didn’t influence Carolina’s season in a positive way. Perhaps it was the coaching staff or the offense, but Mayfield was a bust from the start with errant throws and turnovers evident throughout his time under center.

It is easy to argue the Panthers would be in a better position both in the draft and the 2022 regular season if they had looked elsewhere for their answer at quarterback. Mayfield was well below average production-wise, although he deserves credit for adapting and improving his leadership skills during his brief stint with the franchise.

What comes next for Mayfield is unclear. He performed well overall for the Rams, but the prospect of head coach Sean McVay walking away in the not-too-distant future leaves the former No. 1 overall selection facing an uncertain future before free agency.