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Baker Mayfield heads to Carolina for fifth-round pick

The Carolina Panthers are acquiring Baker Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns for a conditional fifth-round pick in 2024.

The black and blue finally came to an agreement Wednesday afternoon to get the coveted quarterback it wanted heading into the offseason. Both sides agreed to split Mayfield’s almost $19 million guaranteed for this season.

Now, this gives Carolina a better QB than Sam Darnold and should help the Panthers move into playoff contention. This helps the passing game immensely, but should take some of the pressure of Christian McCaffrey. Reason being that Mayfield can make defenses respect the passing game more. If that is the case, Carolina won’t need to give CMC as many touches as the team needed to in previous years.

Mayfield under center should make the Panthers multi-dimensional because he is a more capable QB than Darnold.

The initial reports say that Darnold and Mayfield will compete for the starting job, but it should be an almost foregone conclusion that the former No.1 overall pick will be the starter in week one. So, the two big questions are—what does Carolina do with Darnold? The other is does the Panthers try and sign Mayfield now, during the season or make a strong offer in the offseason.

This also raises the question of what quarterback is the odd one out? PJ Walker, could be cut. Matt Corral is pegged as the future quarterback as the coaches groom him in the offseason. Also, with Mayfield there, Corral can learn from him and wait in the wings.

For this season, this is an amazing move for Carolina, a fifth round in 2024 and half of the $18.85 million.

This becomes a better move if Carolina propels into the playoffs.

With improvements to the offensive line and a better quarterback this should give the Panthers a better chance. It will be interesting to see how the win total changes for the black and blue as analysts marked it for six wins in 2022.

This is the first time since Cam Newton left that it feels like Carolina has a capable QB under center.

This does not solve all of the Panthers problem, but it does help a big problem Carolina faced in the offseason. A big concern was the risk of overpaying for Mayfield as the trades so far include a lot of picks swapped around. This is a low-end risk for Carolina and a borderline steal.

This also makes the first game more interesting as Carolina sets up against Cleveland. If Deshaun Watson is not serving a suspension, then it’s the QB of now versus QB of the past. If Watson is on a suspension, it is still interesting because Mayfield opens the season at home against his former team.

Carolina fans, this is one of the best moves the team has ever made. It is time to get excited for football season. A healthy CMC, a better o-line, and Mayfield— there’s a lot of potential here.