As Baker Mayfield’s future hangs in the balance following the Browns’ acquisition of Deshaun Watson, one AFC South franchise is reportedly emerging as the disgruntled QB’s top suitor.
The Panthers are believed to have the “inside track” to land the former No. 1 pick over “several interested teams,” via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Carolina currently has two signal-callers on the roster: incumbent starter Sam Darnold and backup PJ Walker.
Saturday’s report aligns with recent comments made by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on the Pat McAfee Show regarding updates on potential Mayfield landing spots.
“To me, the Carolina Panthers seem to be the most likely spot for Baker Mayfield, or maybe a team that brings him in as a big-time, high-money backup,” Rapoport said Friday.
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Though ESPN reported in late March that Carolina was not interested in pursuing Mayfield, there appears to be a slight shift in the conversation given the lack of options available on the market.
While his arrival in Charlotte would likely keep one of his potential teammates up late at night, Mayfield would likely step in and become an immediate upgrade over Darnold and Walker going into training camp. In 14 starts in 2021, he threw for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions for the 8-9 Browns while battling injuries.
Meanwhile in Carolina, Darnold, Walker and Cam Newton split starts (Darnold: 11; Newton 5: Walker: 1) to combine for 3,573 yards, 14 touchdowns and 21 interceptions for the 5–12 Panthers.
With Mayfield sitting in a holding pattern with 12 days to go until Day 1 of the NFL Draft, the Panthers, who hold six picks including No. 6 overall, can continue to weigh their options before making any potentially franchise-altering decisions.
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