So, after all that, where do we go? An off-season target Deshawn Watson ended up with the Cleveland Browns. That news was disappointing for some and (given past allegations against him) a relief for others. But one thing it did. It left former Browns QB, Baker Mayfield, without a team to lead. There was some immediate interest shown by the Panthers organization in Mayfield. And according to , that interest is still there. In fact, Baker Mayfield is the top priority for the Carolina Panthers. Marc Sessler
In an article about the biggest remaining offseason priorities for each NFC team Sessler wrote this about the Panthers:
“A year ago, my task for the Panthers read: rebuild Sam Darnold. He’s still in the building after a putrid 2021 campaign, looming today as a coach killer. Darnold was put into a tough situation inside an attack with a decrepit O-line and Christian McCaffrey missing 10 games. The excuses end there, though, and so should Carolina’s commitment to Sam. I’m not pushing for third-rounder Matt Corral to be thrown to the wolves, either, when general manager Scott Fitterer has options on the horizon that can keep this regime afloat. Armed with the second-most cap space league-wide, the Panthers remain a viable landing spot for Baker Mayfield. He’s unquestionably a better option than Darnold and would hit town with a chip on his shoulder the size of Ecuador behind a much-improved front five. Desire a cherry on top? The Panthers open their season at home against Mayfield’s once-beloved Browns. “
Will it happen?
Could Baker Mayfield start the season in a Carolina Panthers uniform? And would Mayfield, who is a significantly better NFL player than Darnold, be the long-term solution? That remains to be seen. One thing that isn’t debatable is the negative impact another dismal season will have on the fan-base. Many of whom have already lost interest. The team does have the pieces in place to at least be better than last season, but a playoff run with Darnold at the helm seems unlikely. But Mayfield has taken the Browns to the playoffs (and when he got there that wasn’t an option) so maybe he’s the missing piece to this puzzle.
I just hope whoever or whatever that last puzzle piece is, is found soon.