Updated: Jun 7
The Carolina Panthers general manager, Scott Fitterer, said he was happy with the current quarterback situation and implied a trade is less likely than before.
In the offseason Carolina checked the availability on DeShaun Watson and Baker Mayfield as rumors around the quarterbacks linked the Panthers as possible trade destinations.
Watson headed to Cleveland, which put Mayfield on Carolina’s radar, but trade talks never materialized into something both teams agreed on.
Mayfield, who is under contract for $18.86 million, would be an upgrade from Sam Darnold, but the sides did not agree on the amount each team would pay him. The Panthers wanted the Browns to cover a huge part of the contract, somewhere between the $13-14 million range.
Also, Watson faced more allegations earlier in the week as the lawsuits pile up on the former Clemson Tiger. As these investigations continue, it is possible Watson serve a suspension while these continue into the season. If these investigations are resolved before the beginning of the 2022 campaign, it is also likely Watson serve a suspension. This would leave Cleveland in need of a quarterback while Watson sits, and the easiest answer would be Baker Mayfield.
This is not the only reason Mayfield is not heading to Carolina as the Panthers plan to develop the two quarterbacks competing for the starting job in 2022. Those being Sam Darnold and Matt Corral.
After taking Corral in the 2022 NFL Draft, the black and blue do not need to trade for a quarterback, and Fitterer said the priority to fix the offensive line was most important.
With organized team activities (OTAs) continuing throughout summer, Corral impressed several Panthers personnel, most importantly the new offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo.
“I really liked his skillset as far as the way he gets the ball out of his hands quickly," McAdoo said. "You can see it translating into this league possibly as we move forward, but he’s got a lot of work to do.”
While not reported, it can be assumed that Carolina forfeits future draft picks, and these could only set Carolina back.
These picks can be incredibly value in the 2023 NFL Draft if the Panthers perform similarly to what it did in the previous season. If the Panthers nab a top pick, then it could maybe draft another quarterback and own two young QBs that give the team options. It would not make the most sense, but it would be a lot better than trading a hefty number of picks for an average quarterback like Mayfield.
Darnold is not the long-term answer for Carolina, but it is easier than taking a shot on Mayfield, especially if the team paid majority of Mayfield’s contract.
Assuming the range of money is true, Carolina taking more of Mayfield’s salary than the $4-5 million left if that trade happened is ridiculous.
Especially because Darnold owns a huge contract too.
The quarterback situation is still murky in Carolina, but moving forward, and implying the Panthers do not need to make a trade allows the team to regain focus on the upcoming season.