NFL Rumors: Panthers QB Is Job Baker Mayfield's 'to Lose' amid Sam Darnold Trade Buzz

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 8, 2022

SPARTANBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA - AUGUST 02: Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the Carolina Panthers attends training camp at Wofford College on August 02, 2022 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers' starting quarterback position is reportedly Baker Mayfield's "to lose."

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the state of the quarterback battle on Monday after Benjamin Allbright of KOA Colorado reported Carolina was "shopping" Sam Darnold but "can't get takers" because of his salary.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From Inside Training Camp: More on the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Panthers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Panthers</a> QBs and why it’s Baker Mayfield’s job to lose. <a href="https://t.co/Hlzs3kOgBX">pic.twitter.com/Hlzs3kOgBX</a>

Darnold is scheduled to make $18.9 million in 2022 after the Panthers picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

Though Darnold started 11 games for Carolina last season, the team used a third-round pick to draft Matt Corral this offseason before acquiring Baker Mayfield in a trade with the Cleveland Browns.

Mayfield and Darnold have split first-team reps through training camp, while head coach Matt Rhule said he won't make a decision until at least after his Week 2 preseason game against the New England Patriots.

"I'm not putting a timetable on the quarterback position until after we get back from the Patriots week," Rhule told reporters on Saturday. "The Patriots week is a true litmus test for us. That will really show us where guys are."

It now seems despite the ongoing quarterback competition, the Panthers would be willing to part with Darnold for the right price.

The 2018 No. 3 overall pick is coming off a disappointing year with Carolina, totaling nine passing touchdowns with 13 interceptions and a 71.9 passer rating that ranked 29th out of 31 qualified players.

These struggles came after totaling a 78.6 rating across three seasons with the New York Jets.

Darnold has shown some bright spots in his career, including the start of 2021 when he had five passing and five rushing touchdowns over his first four games. The Panthers began the year with a 3-1 record before eventually falling to 5-12.

The team now appears to want a fresh start at the position, with Mayfield getting his opportunity to prove himself.

Though Mayfield also had an up-and-down 2021 season, the 2018 No. 1 overall pick has an 87.8 career passer rating with 97 touchdowns (five rushing) and 56 interceptions. His 235.4 career yards per game are more than any single season of Darnold's career.

It could be enough to help the Panthers improve offensively after finishing 29th in points scored last year.


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