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Baker Mayfield to be named Carolina Panthers starting QB

Vincent Frank

That didn’t take too long. About five weeks after being acquired from the Cleveland Browns, Baker Mayfield will be the Carolina Panthers’ Week 1 starting quarterback.

NFL insiders Jeff Howe and Joseph Person of The Athletic were the first to report the news Wednesday evening, claiming that Mayfield has beat out incumbent starter Sam Darnold for the QB1 job.

“The Carolina Panthers are expected to name Baker Mayfield their starting quarterback against the Cleveland Browns for Week 1 of the 2022 season, sources confirmed to The Athletic. He’s been competing with Sam Darnold but should be declared the starter when the team is ready to make the announcement.”

Report on Baker Mayfield being named Carolina Panthers starting QB

Mayfield, 27, made his Panthers peseason debut against the Washington Commanders this past weekend, completing 4-of-7 passes for 45 yards. Apparently, that was enough for Matt Rhule and Co. to make this decision ahead of Carolina’s second exhibition outing against the New England Patriots Friday evening.

Related: Baker Mayfield and NFL’s top QB of 2022

Baker Mayfield: From purgatory in Cleveland to Carolina’s starting QB

baker mayfield named carolina panthers starting qb
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Mayfield was traded by Cleveland months after it made the shocking trade for embattled super star quarterback Deshaun Watson. The former No. 1 pick had requested to be dealt as trade talks between Cleveland and Houston heated up. He remained away from offseason activities.

This came after a down 2021 season for both Mayield and the Browns one year after he led the oganization to a rare playoff appearance while playing at a high level.

For Mayfield, this is an opportunity to jumpstart his career as the former Oklahoma star plans for free agency next March. He’s also excited to be on a team that actually wants him.

“I’m extremely excited for this new start in Charlotte. Obviously, I think it’s kind of known now, some familiar faces there, some people that I know and a lot more to meet. It’s just an exciting time for myself and my family and just this new chapter.”

Baker Mayfield after trade to the Carolina Panthers

As for Sam Darnold, he’s out of a starting job after just one season with Carolina. The former New York Jets’ top-three pick has bombed out big time. He threw just nine touchdowns against 13 interceptions in his first season with the Panthers.

The expectation is that Carolina could look to trade Darnold. However, his poor showing through four seasons and an $18.86 million cap hit for the 2022 campaign makes that a near impossibility.