When the Carolina Panthers drafted quarterback Matt Corral in Round 3, the Cleveland Browns and San Francsico 49ers had to be wondering if they’d be stuck with Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo. Fortunately for both clubs, there might still be a shot at a trade.
Carolina paid a hefty price for Corral, trading a 2023 third-round pick to move up and get him. It meant there would likely be a quarterback competition in training camp between him and Sam Darnold, However, it seems the franchise might not be done adding to its depth chart of signal-callers.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the Panthers reportedly plan to “kick around the idea” of adding either Garoppolo, Mayfield or free-agent quarterback Nick Foles.
The club is one of the few NFL teams with the available cap space that could afford to take on either contract. Of course, both Mayfield and Garoppolo come with red flags.
In Garoppolo’s case, he is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and the 49ers are still quite high on him. San Francisco set a steep asking price when the offseason began and no one met it. They are now without any real leverage at this point, which could create an opportunity for Carolina if they’re willing to risk the uncertainty with Garoppolo’s arm post-surgery.
Mayfield – owed an $18 million salary in 2022 – is a cheaper option and Cleveland is far more interested in getting rid of him. He played well in 2020 and offers some upside as a starter when healthy. However, multiple NFL teams take issue with his personality and believe his lack of maturity hurts his leadership.
Either Garoppolo or Mayfield would likely win the Panthers quarterback competition. There’s also reason to believe Carolina will hold the most leverage in trade talks, using each team against one another and threatening to walk by submitting an offer to Foles.
Given head coach Matt Rhule is squarely on the hot seat this fall, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Panthers ultimately pull the trigger and acquire one of the two starting quarterbacks. Given the position San Francisco and Cleveland are in right now, a majority of either player’s salary will likely be covered and a trade won’t cost anything more than a future Day 3 pick.