It appears that the quarterback competition in Carolina has come to an end. The Carolina Panthers recently announced that Baker Mayfield would be their starting quarterback for the 2022 season. This comes just months before Mayfield joined the team. Many had concerns about his underlying injury and how he would look once he was fully recovered. It is clear that the Panthers were impressed with what they have seen from Mayfield up to this point and he is their guy for the future. If he can continue to develop into what many believe he may be, the Panthers would be in a very good place and may even be able to avoid the impending rebuild that has been looming over the franchise since the Cam Newton era came to an end.
How Baker Mayfield Got the Carolina
For some time, it appeared that Baker Mayfield may be the franchise quarterback of the Cleveland Browns. With Mayfield as the starter, the team went from having a combined record of 1-31 over two seasons just a few years prior to a playoff victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers. While many debate how big of a role he was in the team’s success, the fact remains that with him at the helm, the Browns went from bottom-feeders to a contending team. However, after the short playoff run, things would go south for Mayfield and Cleveland, ultimately leading to him to be traded to the Panthers. In the deal, Carolina gave up a conditional 2024 fourth or fifth-round pick (depending on if Mayfield goes on to play 70% of snaps or more with the Panthers this season). Along with this, Carolina only had to pay $4.85 million of his contract for this year.
What to Expect From Mayfield On the Panthers
With Mayfield announced as the team’s starter for the 2022 season, many have mixed feelings about how the year will go for the Panthers. It was almost clear from the beginning that once Mayfield was traded to the Panthers that he would be the team’s day one starter, however, he looked average at best in his final season with the Cleveland Browns. While he was dealing with a serious labrum injury that he chose to play through during that season, Mayfield was a shell of what he was just one season prior. Last season he threw for 3010 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. Along with this, he had a completion rate of 60.5% and a QBR of 35.1, both of which were career lows.
Despite the shaky year from Mayfield last season, many Panthers fans are still very optimistic about the young quarterback. Mayfield is still early into his NFL career and possesses a lot of potential. He proved in the 2020 season that he was more than capable of leading a team to the playoffs. With Mayfield’s labrum fully recovered by the beginning of the season, he should be back to normal and ready to lead the Panthers to a possible wildcard spot this season. Although he will not have as much help around him as he did in Cleveland, he will share the backfield with one of the most elite weapons in the league in Christian McCafferty. It appears that both of their games will mesh very well together once the season begins. Things are looking hopeful in Carolina heading into the 2022 regular season, with Mayfield at the helm, the Panthers should be a team to keep an eye on this season.