Carolina Panthers want Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold competition

Browns QB Baker MayfieldSyndication Usa Today
Browns QB Baker MayfieldSyndication Usa Today /

The Carolina Panthers are publicly saying that there is a wide-open competition between newly acquired Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold.

The Baker Mayfield saga ended last week when the Carolina Panthers traded a 2024 conditional fifth-round pick for the former first overall pick.

Many believed that this meant that Mayfield would be given the starting role immediately, but that is not the case.

Shortly after the trade was completed, there was speculation that there would be a quarterback battle between Mayfield and Sam Darnold.

Bucky Brooks was a guest on Colin Cowherd’s show The Herd and gave his initial thoughts on the situation.

"“It will be interesting to see Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold in training camp,” Brooks said. “The way the money is split up – the Browns are taking on $10 million, the Panthers are paying Mayfield $5 million, which is backup money. This could legitimately be a quarterback competition.”"

This was something that many people blew off, as the majority of people believed that Mayfield would be handed the job. However, on Tuesday, July 12, Panthers’ General Manager Scott Fitterer confirmed the speculation of a potential competition during a press conference.

"“This is an open competition. You know, the reason we added Baker was to make the group better as a whole. Our whole philosophy is to add competition not just in the quarterback room but at every position,” Fitterer said. “So, I think overall, this is a very healthy situation for all of us to be in.”"

Now, one distinctive advantage that Darnold has over Mayfield is familiarity with the personnel and playbook. Mayfield will have just over two weeks to learn those details before coming into training camp on July 26.

Both quarterbacks have struggled with accuracy and taking care of the football during their careers up to this point.

Mayfield has clearly more touchdown passes and passing yards with 92 touchdowns and 14,125 passing yards compared to Darnold’s 54 passing touchdowns and 10,624 passing yards.

However, Mayfield has been in a much better system the last two seasons with Kevin Stefanski and a very friendly quarterback offense.

"“It doesn’t matter what he’s done in the past, it’s more about what he’s going to do in the future,” Fitterer said. “Everybody went to bat for Baker.”"

Nonetheless, both of these quarterbacks will have to put the past behind them and focus on the future ahead as they compete for a starting job.