Baker Mayfield named Carolina Panthers’ starting quarterback

Carolina Panthers announce Baker Mayfield as starting quarterback over Sam Darnold
from Zac Wassink, with

Baker Mayfield didn’t have to wait long to once again be QB1.

It was reported last week that the Carolina Panthers were going to name Mayfield their starting quarterback for the Week 1 contest versus the Cleveland Browns, the 27-year-old’s former employer who shipped him to Carolina in July after it acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans via an offseason trade.

Carolina confirmed on Monday that Mayfield will get the nod over 2021 Week 1 starter Sam Darnold for the Sept. 11 game.

“When we started this process, we were looking at three things,” Panthers head coach Matt Rhule explained, according to Darin Gantt of the club’s website. “Number one, mastery of the offense, number two, situational football excellence, and number three, moving the ball and getting guys involved. That’s been our focus all along.

“Baker has made a lot of improvement, a lot of growth in all three areas in a short amount of time.”

Mayfield suffered a serious injury to his non-throwing shoulder in Week 2 of the 2021 campaign that required him to undergo offseason surgery and was never quite the same after that setback. As noted by ESPN stats, the first overall pick from the 2018 NFL Draft finished last season 27th overall with an 83.1 passer rating and with a 35.1 total QBR. He completed 60.5 percent of his throws for 3,010 yards with 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

“All along, we’ve felt like we need to have a really strong quarterback room, and have every quarterback ready to play,” Rhule added in his comments. “The reality of this league is most teams will play multiple quarterbacks. Sam has worked incredibly hard, played really well for us during training camp, and will be ready to go if and when it’s needed.”

Meanwhile, the Browns remain on track to start backup Jacoby Brissett versus Mayfield and the Panthers with Watson suspended over allegations of sexual misconduct during massage sessions.