NFL Network’s Josina Anderson swirled up the Baker Mayfield rumors again on Tuesday when she tweeted that the door is still open for the former No. 1 overall pick to sign with the Carolina Panthers.
Still, wrote Anderson, Carolina “isn’t in any rush, nor are they pressed” to add Mayfield to their quarterback room.
Meanwhile, in Cleveland, reporter Mary Kay Cabot wrote that “If for some reason Mayfield is still hanging around at the start of the season, he won’t start for Watson if he’s suspended. That job will go to No. 2 quarterback Jacoby Brissett.”
“If Brissett gets injured amid a Watson suspension and Mayfield is still here, the Browns would have to decide between Mayfield and Josh Dobbs, but I don’t see it getting to that point. It behooves the Browns to trade Mayfield as soon as they can and eliminate the distraction,” added Cabot.
So it seems like Mayfield to Carolina is still a very likely possibility, and at this point, why not? With a struggling Sam Darnold and a rookie quarterback in Matt Corral, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Matt Rhule and Scott Fitterer opt for a trade. Bringing Mayfield to Charlotte would add reasonable stability to the position, something the Panthers didn’t have last season. Darnold was under center for two-thirds (67 percent) of all offensive plays while Cam Newton took on 22 percent of all snaps and P.J. Walker took 11 percent. No one threw for double-digit touchdown passes. The team as a whole threw 14 all season, less than one per game.
It wasn’t a competitive product for fans by any stretch, and I’m not sure Panthers fans will be willing to take more of the same treatment this season.
But the question is, really, is Mayfield actually worth getting excited about? It might not be and I can’t see it changing much, overall. Mayfield was surrounded by a tremendous offense in Cleveland and he remained a relatively average, not great quarterback. But if I can add any silver lining here, he was pretty consistent in his averageness.
Mayfield’s passing stats over his first four years were not “bad,” but it sure seemed that way given the media coverage he received. And granted, fans and media have expectations for a no. 1 overall draft pick. When not met, things can turn ugly, which they did in Cleveland.
Perhaps for a team like Carolina, a consistently average (but not awful) quarterback is better than what Darnold can provide. Over his first three seasons, Mayfield scored 27, 25 and 27 touchdowns on offense, throwing for 3,725, 3,827 and 3,563 yards. The only time he missed more than two games in a season was last year, when he missed three. Last season he threw for career lows in passing attempts (418), yards (3,010) and touchdown passes (17), and was also sacked for a career high 43 times.
Would Mayfield light it up in Charlotte? No, probably not. But would he serve as an upgrade to last season’s debacle? Yes.
The other side is, of course, the potential baggage that Mayfield could bring to a quarterback room that would include the seemingly relaxed Darnold and the rookie Matt Corral. But who really knows how it would play out. People get older, they learn and they adjust. Maybe Mayfield would too in fresh scenery.
Quite honestly, I don’t think it can hurt taking a flyer on Baker but I’d like to know what you guys think. Let it rip in the comments!