Carolina Panthers Make Surprising Move on Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield is looking for a new NFL team. On Monday, the Carolina Panthers announced they have released the veteran quarterback five months after trading for him. Mayfield entered the season as the projected starting quarterback but his struggles and injuries led to the coaching staff going with PJ Walker and Sam Darnold. 

"This is a tough business,'' interim coach Steve Wilks said Monday, per ESPN. "Sitting in this seat, it was a tough decision on my part, but something I felt like was the best move for the team moving forward.'' Mayfield started the first five games for the Panthers and went 1-4 before suffering an ankle injury that sideline him for one game. He got another start after Walker suffered an ankle sprain and lost, finishing his stint with the Panthers with a 1-5 record. In those six starts (seven games overall), Mayfield completed 57.8% of his passes for 1,313 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions with a 74.4 passer rating. 

"It's shocking to us,'' Panthers offensive lineman Austin Corbett said. "He's the ultimate teammate. Everybody loved him. He loves everybody in here. It hurts. I just hope somebody claims him off waivers and he gets into another room.''  

Mayfield was selected No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft. In his four seasons with the Browns, Mayfield completed 61.6% of his passes for 14,125 yards, 92 touchdowns and 56 interceptions with a 29-30 overall record. His best season was in 2020 when he led the Browns to an 11-5 record and their first playoff win since the 1994 season. The Browns decided to trade Mayfield to the Panthers after they acquired and signed Deshaun Watson. 

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"There was a little bit of sacrifice on all three fronts, between Cleveland, Carolina, and myself," Mayfield said following the trade, per the Panthers' official website. "To me, it's ready for a fresh start first and foremost. I'm extremely grateful for the four years I had in Cleveland, it's a great football town. It's the start of my career, however long, God willing, it will be. I'm thankful for it.  A lot of ups and downs, a lot of things I learned, but when it came down to it, it was wanting a fresh start, wanting to be with a coach and a GM that truly wanted me, . . . and just wanting the same thing, and that's to win football games."