Why Was Baker Mayfield Cut from the Panthers?

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Carolina Panthers decided to waive quarterback Baker Mayfield following week 13 of the NFL. It ends a short stint in Charlotte for the former first-overall pick, as he joined the franchise earlier this year.

It is another blow for Mayfield, as it is the second team that has decided he is not the right fit for their offense. At the age of 27, he still has time to prove himself in the league. He has since been picked up by the defending Super Bowl champions the LA Rams.

Mayfield was named the starting QB earlier this year but he started just six games in a Panthers jersey. He finished with a 1-5 record, with his sole success coming against the New Orleans Saints. Carolina prevailed 22-14 in that game, with Mayfield throwing for 170 yards, which included one touchdown.

The former Panthers QB suffered an ankle sprain in week five in Carolina’s defeat to the San Francisco 49ers. He returned in the second half of their loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in week nine in what proved to be his final appearance for the franchise.

Reports suggest the decision to cut Mayfield was mutual. The QB was informed that he would not be a starter for the rest of the campaign, and he was not prepared to be a backup.

Darnold Promoted to the Starter

The Panthers have decided to finish the season with Sam Darnold and PJ Walker as their quarterback options. Both have started games this year and, in those matches, they have done their prospects of landing the job full-time no harm.

Darnold is in his second season in North Carolina after he was traded to the franchise from the New York Jets in 2021. In week 12, he led his team to a 23-10 victory against the Denver Broncos on his return to the team.

Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks has revealed that Darnold will continue as the starter this season, with Walker backing him up. As of the 8th of December, Carolina Panthers are +1500 in the online betting to win the NFC South title. They have a lot of work to do to finish at the top of the standings, and the franchise believes their best chance of doing that comes with the former Jets man.

Like Mayfield, Darnold is also a quarterback who was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. He was taken fourth overall in 2018. The 25-year-old has struggled with injuries throughout his career, but he will be hoping to stay fit now and take this latest opportunity to prove he can be a big success in the league.

Quarterback Class Expected to Be Strong in 2023

At the end of this season, Carolina must decide what their best option is in 2023. That may depend on how high up the draft board they finish. If Darnold continues to pick up victories, he may make that decision far easier, as they are likely to stick by him.

Should the Panthers cash in their first-round pick on a quarterback next year, they will be hoping that the player can have a similar impact as the likes of Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills), Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs), and Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals).Β 

There is expected to be a strong class of quarterbacks eligible for selection in 2023, so the Panthers won’t be the only franchise in the market to snap one of them up. CJ Stroud, Bryce Young, Will Levis, and Tyler Van Dyke are just four players who rank highly on many scouting cards in college football.

Two-time Heisman Trophy finalist Stroud has had another strong year with Ohio State. He led them to an 11-1 record through their 12 matches. The dual-threat QB has broken many records during his three years with the Buckeyes, including being the player to record the most passing yards in a game with 573.

Alabama’s Young also looks likely to be one of the top picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. He was part of the Crimson Tide team which won the 2020 CFP National Championship. The QB has also picked up prestigious honors, including the 2021 Heisman Trophy.Β 

There have been several positives in 2022 for the Panthers. If they settle on a QB, and they have success in the position, it may not be long before the team is challenging for championships once again.

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