Baker Mayfield was traded away by the Cleveland Browns earlier in the offseason and landed with the Carolina Panthers. Now, with Sam Darnold in the same quarterback room, the starting spot is in no way guaranteed for Mayfield.
Both Mayfield and Darnold were early selections in the 2018 NFL draft, with Mayfield going first overall to the Browns and Darnold going third to the New York Jets.
However, some among the NFL media believe there’s no real competition. Host of the Rich Eisen Show, Rich Eisen speculated that Mayfield is a shoo-in to win the starting job.
"As for the Carolina situation, I'm assuming Baker gets the gig. Are they gonna have him sit there in week one after they make this acquisition and let Sam Darnold have at it against the Cleveland Browns?"
"Okay…And I'm assuming Mayfield gets that gig. Just to say that you've seen what you got out of Sam Darnold last year unless Mayfield totally craps the bed in preseason."
Eisen also asserted that it was ridiculous for the Panthers to bring in Baker Mayfield if they did not plan to play him against the Browns in Week 1.
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"What! Are you going to just have Baker hold a clipboard in week one - ‘Welcome to the team'. That's your former team. We'll just use you to say what do you think Stefanski is going to run?
"I mean, like that's what you're gonna do, that you're gonna be the scout quarterback that week to try and figure out how Jacoby Brissett might work the offense. We're gonna pick your brain Baker, while we send Sam Darnold out there?...And I think the Panthers would be nuts to go acquire him and start Darnold against his former team."
Baker Mayfield may be the best chance the Panthers have to nab a wildcard spot
It does make sense that Baker Mayfield would be given the chance to exact revenge on his old team. He will, no doubt, be even more driven by the Week 1 matchup to outperform Darnold. What does the future hold for the loser of this competition? Most likely, a new career path as a backup quarterback.
The Panthers are in a relatively weak division. With the exception of the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will likely take the top spot, there’s no clear number two.
The Atlanta Falcons seem to be in rebuild mode, and although the New Orleans Saints have a solid defense, we don’t know for sure what they have in Jameis Winston.
If you use any of the above quotes, please credit the Rich Eisen Show and H/T Sportskeeda.