The Carolina Panthers announced Baker Mayfield will be one of their team captains for the 2022 NFL season.
Mayfield is approaching his first year in Carolina following a trade from the Cleveland Browns. In late August, head coach Matt Rhule named him the starting quarterback for Week 1 ahead of Sam Darnold.
Darnold subsequently suffered a high-ankle sprain that forced him to go on injured reserve. That removed any lingering doubt about who will run the offense for at least the first four games.
Because his trade to the Panthers didn't happen until early July, Mayfield didn't have much time to get acclimated to his new surroundings.
Rhule told reporters on Aug. 9 he was happy with the veteran signal-caller's performance in practice.
"He's definitely improving," the coach said. "He gets more and more of a feel of what he can do at the line of scrimmage. What he's done in 10 days is pretty impressive—or 10, 11 practices. He's making really good jumps."
Mayfield will be carrying a massive chip on his shoulder after the Browns made their opinion of him very clear when they acquired Deshaun Watson. He's also due to become a free agent in 2023, so his future earnings will hinge on what he does on the field this season.
There's no question the 27-year-old regressed in a big way in 2021. He finished with 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and his 40.9 QBR ranked 27th, per ESPN.
Mayfield also battled shoulder trouble throughout the year before finally undergoing surgery.
Between making him the starter and assigning him captain duties, Rhule and the Panthers are guaranteeing the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner will at least have the platform he needs to silence his skeptics.