Panthers name Baker Mayfield Week 1 starter vs. Browns


The Carolina Panthers’ starting quarterback job belongs to Baker Mayfield.

Head coach Matt Rhule made the decision official on Monday, saying Mayfield is slated to be under center when the Panthers face his former team, the Cleveland Browns, in Week 1.

“When we started this process, we were looking at three things,” Rhule said, via the Panthers’ website. “Number one, mastery of the offense, number two, situational football excellence and number three, moving the ball and getting guys involved. That's been our focus all along.

“Baker has made a lot of improvement, a lot of growth in all three areas in a short amount of time.”

Mayfield is joined by Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker and injured rookie Matt Corral in the Panthers’ QB room. Darnold started 11 times for Carolina in 2021, leading the team to a 4-7 record in those games. Walker won his lone start, while the team went 0-5 in games where Cam Newton got the nod.

The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner was the No. 1 overall pick by the Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft. He played his first four NFL seasons in Cleveland and was the starter when the team made its first playoff appearance in 18 years during the 2020 season.

Mayfield requested a trade from the Browns in March following an injury-riddled 2021 campaign, and the team obliged him in July by sending him to Carolina in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2024. Now, he gets to take the field in his new uniform against his old team right out of the gates.

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