We may have already known this announcement would be coming, as the news may have leaked a few days early, but now it’s official. The Carolina Panthers have named Baker Mayfield as their starting quarterback for the 2022 season, according to Ian Rapoport.
This means fans will be treated to a show in Week 1 when the Cleveland Browns travel to Carolina, where Mayfield will be starting against the team that selected him No. 1 overall in 2018. Awkward. Making matters worse, now the QB the Browns traded for to replace Mayfield won’t even be available, as Deshaun Watson‘s set to serve an 11-game suspension.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said there were three specific factors the team had their eye on in the QB competition, but Mayfield emerged from the pack.
While Mayfield being named the starter is an important development, what does it mean for the other quarterbacks on the roster?
Baker Mayfield’s the starter but what about Sam Darnold?
Mayfield had been competing with the Panthers’ starter from 2021, but now Sam Darnold will head back to the bench to be the team’s top backup. There’s always the possibility of Darnold being traded, but that appears more unlikely after Matt Corral’s foot injury. PJ Walker didn’t appear ready to be the QB2 either, so Darnold looks like a strong bet to remain in Carolina.
For the Panthers, they get to roll with Mayfield, hope he can do what Darnold couldn’t, and compete for the playoffs. In a worst-case scenario situation, they can always turn to Darnold to see if he can lead a more inspiring performance.
|Career stats||Baker Mayfield||Sam Darnold|
|QB record||29-30 (49.1%)||17-32 (34.6%)|
It may not be the outcome Darnold wished for, but he knows he’s just a snap away from being thrust into a starting role once again. For now he’ll have to settle on being the best teammate he can be, helping Mayfield find success in the offense he once held the keys to.