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Baker Mayfield, Panthers Haven't Discussed Contract Extension Since Trade, GM Says

Adam WellsJuly 12, 2022

Jason Miller/Getty Images

One week after acquiring Baker Mayfield, the Carolina Panthers are going to take their time before deciding what to do about his contract.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said the team is not having discussions with Mayfield's camp about a long-term extension.

"Our whole focus was bringing Baker in to compete with Sam [Darnold]. We'll take it up to training camp. That's as far as we're going to take it and we'll let it play out throughout the season. We'll make decisions based later in the season, whether it's November or December. At that point, once there's a track record behind him in this offense and this organization."

There's no reason for the Panthers to rush into anything with Mayfield at this point. They haven't even named him their starting quarterback going into this season.

Fitterer said that Mayfield and Sam Darnold are in "open competition" for the job heading into training camp.

"It's an open competition. … It’s a very healthy situation," Fitterer said.

Mayfield and Darnold both have a lot at stake in 2022. They are entering the final season of their rookie contracts and are coming off significant injuries that kept them out for multiple games in 2021.

Darnold missed five games from Week 10 to 15 due to a scapula fracture. Mayfield announced in January that he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The 27-year-old originally suffered the injury in a Week 2 win over the Houston Texans.

Mayfield managed to play in 14 games for the Cleveland Browns despite the injury. He threw for a career-low 3,010 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Coming off a down season, why would Mayfield want to try signing an extension at this point? He has virtually no leverage, and any offer the Panthers would make almost certainly would be below market value for a starting quarterback.

Carolina may not want to commit to Mayfield after trading up to select Matt Corral in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft. This could be a situation in which the front office is only looking for a one-year stopgap before letting the quarterback it drafted take over.

If Mayfield plays well, like he did for the Browns in 2020, the Panthers might look to engage him in contract talks. He's still young enough that he could have many prime years ahead of him.

Until Mayfield is able to prove he can perform at a high level on a consistent basis, the Panthers don't need to rush into anything and risk locking themselves into a bad contract.

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