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Baker Mayfield, Carolina Panthers have mutual disinterest

Andrew Buller-Russ

The Carolina Panthers don’t want Baker Mayfield. Well, that’s fine, because apparently, the No. 1 overall pick from 2018 doesn’t have any interest in playing for the Panthers either.

According to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, Mayfield hasn’t shown any desire to become a part of the Panthers organization. The destination he really wanted, was the Indianapolis Colts, before they traded for Matt Ryan.

There’s been no indication that the Panthers are even still in the trade market as they search from an improvement from Sam Darnold, who’s only under contract for the 2022 season. Where does that leave the Panthers going forward?

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Meanwhile, the Panthers were once all-in on Deshaun Watson, dating back to the 2021 NFL trade deadline. Now that he’s decided he’d rather play for the Browns, the Panthers are once again left without a top quarterback. Where does being spurned by Watson, Mayfield, and every other QB thus far leave Matt Rhule’s Panthers?

They could still trade for a veteran QB, pretty much the last one left, in Jimmy Garoppolo from the 49ers, who seem unlikely to let Trey Lance, 2021’s No. 3 overall pick sit for two full seasons. Only, the Panthers may not want to part with the likely two second-round picks needed to acquire Jimmy G.

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They feel like they just tried that a year ago with Darnold, and got less-than-desirable results. In fact, the Panthers don’t even have a second-round pick, thanks to the Darnold trade, and they’re not parting with their first-round pick for Garoppolo, being that he’s not their long-term solution.

Instead, they likely have their eyes on the QBs in the 2022 draft class. This could mean Kenny Pickett is their choice at No. 6 maybe Malik Willis as well. Either way, the Panthers’ QB need is arguably as strong as ever heading into what could be coach Rhule’s lame duck season.

Related: Evaluating best Carolina Panthers quarterback options in 2022