It is well-known that the Carolina Panthers are in the market for a reliable starting-level quarterback.
During this year’s NFL draft, there was chatter that they had some serious interest in the Cleveland Browns‘ Baker Mayfield, but they went ahead and drafted QB Matt Corral in the third round.
Shortly afterward, Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said that the selection of Corral meant that the Panthers would no longer be interested in acquiring a veteran quarterback.
NFL Network analyst Steve Smith Sr. had a message for the Panthers organization in case it was still interested in dealing for Mayfield, and it was an emphatic one.
Steve Smith hearing the Panthers are eyeing Baker Mayfield 💀 @brgridiron
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 29, 2022
Although Fitterer said his team is not in the market for an experienced QB anymore, it’s always possible that his statement was nothing more than posturing or standard GM-speak.
It’s Somewhat Understandable Why There Is Tepid Interest In Mayfield
When Mayfield burst onto the scene during the 2018 season, he was thought to have true star potential.
He did fairly well as a rookie, throwing for 3,725 yards and setting a league rookie record with 27 touchdowns despite missing two games.
god i miss rookie year Baker Mayfield pic.twitter.com/DA5lwkGl7c
— 𝘿𝙤𝙢 🧸 (@WatsonBetter) December 14, 2021
But he took a step back in 2019, throwing for almost as many interceptions (21) as touchdowns (22) while seeing his passer rating plunge from 93.7 to 78.8.
It looked like the former Oklahoma star was starting to get on the right track in 2020, when he led Cleveland to an 11-5 record and its first playoff win since 1994.
But it’s been rough going for Mayfield since, and he has had trouble maintaining any real type of consistently high-level play.
At age 27, some may be inclined to feel that he won’t become much better, as potential certainly has a shelf life.
But the rebuttal to that argument is that the Browns haven’t had a lot of stability offensively, thanks to injuries to men such as Odell Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landry and several of their offensive linemen.
Mayfield himself suffered a should injury this past season, and although he missed just three contests, it affected his production.
Another hold-up appears to be Mayfield’s contract, which will pay him nearly $19 million this coming season.
However, it will be the final year on his contract, which would seem to make him a little bit less of a risk for potential suitors.
Mayfield Could Still Be A Viable Option
Some could make an argument that in a different environment, Mayfield could play more like he did as a rookie or during the 2020 campaign.
Given that the Panthers clearly need help under center, it may make sense for them to take a little more of a risk to fill that need.
In Sam Darnold, Carolina had one of the NFL’s worst starting QBs in 2021.
He only threw for 2,527 yards and nine touchdowns in 12 contests while giving up 13 interceptions and posting a weak passer rating of 71.9.
The return of Cam Newton, who like Mayfield was once thought to have had lots of potential, also wasn’t fruitful, as he gave the Panthers just 684 yards and four touchdowns in five starts.
If the Browns lower their asking price, perhaps the Panthers taking a flyer on Mayfield won’t be such a bad idea.
The league-wide lack of interest in this QB class makes it even more surprising that Jimmy G and Baker Mayfield haven't had much of a market.
Eg. Carolina can't be content with Sam Darnold and they clearly don't like these rookie QBs, so….
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) April 30, 2022
Charles W Gill says
No secret why no NFL teams are interested in Baker Mayfield and it has nothing to do with his ability. Baker could take any team to a Super Bowl. Still, Baker is cutting into valuable Browns cap space. Besides who desires to pay any player they aren’t gonna use. It’s only a matter of time before the Browns cut Baker, then any future team can dictate Baker’s terms, and without losing draft picks.
If I were Baker I’d be talking with owners in the Canadian Football League, calling out the Brown’s rotten draft, how the Watson trade went down, leaving the Browns in the no-trade capital position they’re in, and how the Browns traded almost all the marque players they had from that year when they were in the playoffs. Forget Hue Jackson’s tanking claims. The Browns are clearly doing it this year. The fact the NFL is washing their hands, plus the talking heads talking like the draft picks had value, tells me the NFL knows what’s going on. I’ll not be buying anything NFL this year.
Look at when the Indianapolis colts got Andrew luck, now that was tanking but nobody did anything about that!!