The Carolina Panthers have officially announced that they will be starting Baker Mayfield at quarterback over Sam Darnold.
As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcome Tom Brady back from his absence, the Carolina Panthers have made an important decision in their own quarterback room.
Charlotte is officially rolling with Baker Mayfield over Sam Darnold this season.
Mayfield will take the snaps in the season opener against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 11.
Panthers choose Baker Mayfield over Sam Darnold in tepid quarterback battle
The decision to start Mayfield over Darnold isn’t all that surprising, as this is exactly why Mayfield was brought to Carolina in the first place. As Steve Smith recently put it, Mayfield has “charisma,” “swagger” and a “John Wayne” mentality, while Darnold is someone who will “put you to sleep, reading a book.”
Despite this, there was still a battle to be had in camp this year, but Mayfield came in and earned the job over Darnold. Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer complimented Mayfield’s ability to embrace a new organization and lead the team.
Head coach Matt Rhule also noted that Darnold is still “ready to go if and when it’s needed.”
Many around the NFL have preemptively started cheering Mayfield on before he begins his “revenge tour” against his “former lover,” as Emmanuel Acho put it.
Finding a capable quarterback for Carolina has been a challenge in recent years, as Cam Newton began faltering in his later seasons there. Then Darnold was brought in from the New York Jets, but he was only able to accomplish a 5-12 record last season as the Panthers sat at the bottom of the NFC South.
The Browns finished 8-9, but that was also in a season in which Mayfield was frequently sidelined with injury. If he manages to stay healthy this year, the Panthers have a quarterback of now, even if it’s not the gunslinger of the future.
Mayfield has proven once again through Panthers camp that he’s a capable starter — even if the Browns didn’t feel the same way.