The quarterback situation for the Carolina Panthers has been a mess for the last two years and that has led to the ongoing QB battle between Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold.
Desperate for a quarterback last season, the team traded for former No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold in the offseason. Darnold had an ok start to the season as both a runner and passer, but quickly hit a wall and struggled before going down with a shoulder injury. He was able to return in time for the final three weeks of the regular season, but questions arose about the long-term viability of the No. 3 overall pick.
Faced with a very weak quarterback class in the 2022 NFL Draft, the team elected to wait until the third round to take a flyer on Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral. It seemed as if Darnold and Corral would be the top two QBs in Carolina until July 6, when the franchise traded for Baker Mayfield. The relationship between the former Heisman Trophy winner and the Cleveland Browns organization rapidly deteriorated in the offseason and his fate was sealed when the team controversially traded for Deshaun Watson.
So far in training camp, both Mayfield and Darnold have been moving back and forth between working with the 1’s and 2’s. The Panthers’ first preseason game will be on Saturday, August 13 against the Commanders.
Who has the edge?
Neither guy really inspires confidence in a full turnaround for the Panthers this season but I think Mayfield will emerge as the starter in Carolina. Even with his flaws and his brash personality, his ceiling is still much higher than that of Darnold’s and he’s a shoo-in to take this starting job.