Skip to main content

Why Baker Mayfield should be done as the Carolina Panthers starting QB


The Carolina Panthers took a chance on Baker Mayfield this past offseason in hopes that the former No. 1 pick might be able to resurrect his fledgling career.

Through five weeks, it’s become readily apparent that Mayfield is not that guy. In no way were we surprised by Mayfield’s ugly performance in a blowout 37-15 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. The entire Panthers team was overmatched by a squad that’s on a completely different level.

With that said, it’s an indicator of larger-scale problems for the Matt Rhule-led Panthers. They are not competitive when it counts. They can’t rely on Mayfield to lead either the locker room or their talent-stricken offense on the field. That became obvious with what we saw from Mayfield at home against San Francisco, including a game-altering pick-six late in the second quarter.

Complete and utter disaster. Mayfield overshot his intended receiver Christian McCaffrey by a good five yards. The ball was then picked off by Emmanuel Moseley and returned 41 yards for a touchdown. From that point on, the Panthers were absolute toast.

“Yeah, I mean, it is. No doubt about it, gut punch because we have a minute and 40, starting with one timeout. We believe in our two-minute offense. Just double clutched the ball and then when I released it, I don’t think my feet were under me. I think the ball sailed on me a little bit. Yeah, it’s a game of inches. It was probably about six inches too high for him not to be able to really touch it or deflect it.”

Carolina Panthers’ Baker Mayfield on Game 5 pick-six

Adding injury to insult (literally), Mayfield was seen in a walking boot following the game due to a foot injury. Despite this, Mayfield fully believes that he will be able to play next week against the defending champion Los Angeles Rams. But at this stage in the season, what’s the point of continuing to throw Mayfield out there?

Related: Baker Mayfield and the worst NFL QB performances from Week 5

Baker Mayfield is not the long-term solution for a bad Carolina Panthers team

baker mayfield, carolina panthers
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Dating back to Week 11 of last season, Carolina has lost 11 of 12 games. There’s a decent chance that head coach Matt Rhule will be fired in-season should things continue to snowball. Coaching for his job in Carolina, the idea of riding it out with Mayfield makes absolutely no sense. He does nothing to put Carolina in a position to win.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. Through five games, Mayfield has proven he is not the answer. It’s that simple.

Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

Matt Rhule and the Baker Mayfield conundrum

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

As noted above, Rhule is very much on the hot seat. By virture of Carolina’s most-recent loss, he boasts an ugly 11-27 record as the team’s head coach. Even before getting humiliated by San Francisco, suggestions were that Rhule could be out of a job.

The question is now whether he will turn to P.J. Walker as an option to light a fire under the NFL’s most-anemic offense. Rhule opened up his post-game presser by pretty much calling out Mayfield individually without saying the quarterback’s name.

“Obviously, a disappointing end to that game. I thought that pick-6 right before the half really was a gut punch. I thought the guys came out and answered in the 2nd half with the kick return leading to a touchdown. But in the end, unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Credit to them. I thought they played well.”

Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule on Week 5 loss

Carolina must now take on what promises to be an upset Rams squad after they put up two consecutive stinkers. It must then contend with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6 before going up against the Atlanta Falcons twice in a three-week span.

If Rhule has any chance to save his job (an extreme unlikelihood), moving off Mayfield right now makes the most sense. Whether that means starting Walker or hoping Sam Darnold can return sooner than expected, the time is now. Baker Mayfield is no longer a starter-caliber quarterback in the NFL.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: