Reports and rumors linking the Carolina Panthers to Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield cannot be ignored. Last week, Ellis L. Williams of The Charlotte Observer suggested the Panthers could add Mayfield to their roster before starting the mandatory minicamp on June 14, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times later wrote that “the consensus is that the Caroline remains Mayfield’s most likely destination if released.”
On Tuesday afternoon, however, veteran and 2018 third-round pick Sam Darnold was atop Carolina’s depth chart ahead of rookie and third-round pick Matt Corral. Darnold spoke to reporters and, according to Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper, insisted he was “confident that I can be one of the best quarterbacks in the league”.
As indicated by ESPN stats, Darnold finished the 2021 season 29th among eligible callers with a passer rating of 71.9 and a total QBR of 33.2. He completed just 59.9% of his attempts and tied nine touchdowns with 13 interceptions.
“Everyone, including myself, knows the situation. . . . For me, it’s about focusing on what I can do now,” Darnold added during his comments.
The Panthers could make a move for San Francisco 49ers veteran Jimmy Garoppolo or wait to see if Garoppolo or Mayfield are released by their current employers. Darnold’s confidence is admirable, but it seems to be a matter of when, not if, he’s replaced as Carolina’s QB1 before preseason games begin.