QB Baker Mayfield To Start For Panthers


- Grant Whittington

In breaking NFL news, Carolina Panthers star Baker Mayfield has officially beaten fellow-starter Sam Darnold to the job. This means he’ll start his team in their regular-season opener against the Cleveland Browns.

Mayfield was acquired from the Browns via a trade earlier this year. The announcement regarding his newest position was made by Panthers coach Matt Rhule on Monday.

Given that Mayfield had practically outperformed Darnold at training camp, the news comes as no surprise to fans.

Mayfield Perfects The Hat-Trick

According to Rhule, during the time leading up to the decision, the Panthers had been looking at three things: excellence in situational play, the ability to move the ball and get the rest of the team involved, and a capable leader on the offense.

Rhule said that Mayfield has been showing a great deal of improvement – not to mention rapid growth in all three areas.

Mayfield and Darnold are both expected to star in the Panthers’ pre-season finale on Friday night, when they’ll be taking on the Buffalo Bills. Neither played in last week’s stand-off with the New England Patriots, and both will be happy for the chance to be part of the action.

Mayfield had been the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft. Darnold, meanwhile, had gone at No. 3 to the New York Jets. But after a struggle to prove himself with the Jets last season, Darnold was eventually traded to the Panthers. Mayfield, on the other hand, had played a pivotal role in helping the Browns to the playoffs in 2020, but was derailed somewhat by injury in 2021.

No Need To Prove Himself  

But according to Mayfield, he’s not regarding 2022 to be a year for redemption. Instead, he said he knows fully what he’s capable of, and that he won’t be trying to prove himself to anybody. He said he’ll simply try to lead the locker room to the best of his ability.

The original plan had been for the Panthers to keep three quarterbacks on their roster. But this plan was thwarted when rookie third-round draft pick Matt Corral sustained a ligament tear injury in his foot.

Rhule said on Monday that the plan had all along been to build a strong quarterback room, with every QB on the team ready to play. He said most teams are expected to play several quarterbacks this season.

Mayfield can look forward to earning at least $18.1 million this season, with the Browns footing $10.5 million of the bill. 

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