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Baker Mayfield to compete for starting job, holds ‘no animosity’ towards the Browns

Vincent Frank

New Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield held a Q&A session with the media on Tuesday, less than a week after he was acquired from the Cleveland Browns in a blockbuster trade.

Mayfield, 27, comes over to Carolina after a drama-filled end to his tenure with the Browns. That included Cleveland pulling off a trade for Deshaun Watson this past spring.

In talking with the media, the former No. 1 pick seemed to offer up an olive branch to his former organization.

“No animosity towards Cleveland. It’s a good football town that gave me the first four years of my career and thankful for those trials and tribulations, all the challenges, a lot to learn from and look back on and reflect. Just really focused on right now and being a Carolina Panther and pumped up to do so.”

Baker Mayfield to the media, via NFL.com

This is rather interesting given that anonymous sources within the Browns’ organization described Mayfield as “childish and immature” following his trade to Carolina last week. It appears that the former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is taking the high road here.

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

Baker Mayfield to compete for Carolina Panthers QB1 job during training camp

baker mayfield, carolina panthers
Jeff Lange/Akron Beacon Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Mayfield was acquired from Cleveland for a mid-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. Obviously, the cheap nature of this acquisition led to questions about whether he would be handed the starting job over struggling incumbent Sam Darnold. That’s not the case.

“This is an open competition. The reason why we added Baker was to make the group better as a whole. Our philosophy is to have competition not just in the quarterback room, but every position. So, if we see an opportunity where we can get better, where we (can) add a player and it makes sense for us as a team, makes sense for us financially, makes sense for us just from a position standpoint.”

Carolina Panthers GM Scott Fitterer on the Baker Mayfield trade

Presumably, Mayfield will compete with Darnold and rookie third-round pick Matt Corral for the starting job. Though, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this was a two-man race between Mayfield and Darnold. Both Fitterer and head coach Matt Rhule are on the hot seat heading into the 2022 NFL season. Relying on a rookie in Corral wouldn’t seem to make too much sense.

From a practical standpoint, Mayfield would be an upgrade over what we’ve seen from Darnold throughout his career.

Last season with Carolina, Darnold threw nine touchdowns against 13 interceptions in 12 games (11 starts). Sure Mayfield had a down campaign in Cleveland. But his track record is much better than his counterpart from the 2018 NFL Draft class.

Mayfield also seems to be confident in his ability to make the transition to Carolina from Cleveland.

“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 to reporters on Tuesday

The Carolina Panthers will report to training camp on July 26 with their first preseason game slated for August 13 against the Washington Commanders.

A strong performance during the summer could set the stage for Mayfield to start against his former Browns team Week 1. Imagine the storylines there.