The Carolina Panthers have spent years trying to find a quarterback without using a first round pick, and the results have not been good. As Cam Newton started to fade, they’ve turned to Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, Cam Newton (again) Will Grier, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, Cam Newton (again, again), PJ Walker, Baker Mayfield, PJ Walker (again), Baker Mayfield (again) and most recently Sam Darnold (again).
The dalliance with Mayfield was particularly short, as he started the first six games of this season before getting injured, having PJ Walker out perform him, getting the job back briefly, and then eventually seeing Sam Darnold get healthy and get a crack at the starting job. None of it has yielded success, but Mayfield’s tenure was particularly dim, as he had six touchdowns and six interceptions over six starts and seven overall appearances, completing 57.8 percent of his passes for just over 1,300 yards, with the Panthers going 1-5 with him as a starter.
It was not what Mayfield hoped when he got a fresh start after being run out of Cleveland, but he is now perilously close to running out of chances to prove himself as an NFL quarterback — at least one that gets chances to compete for a starting job. On Monday, word broke from Ian Rapoport and Josina Anderson that Mayfield was being waived by Carolina, which may provide him one last shot at finding a new home.
Sources: The #Panthers are expected to release QB Baker Mayfield. He’ll hit waivers when it’s finalized later today.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2022
— JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) December 5, 2022
The San Francisco 49ers become the immediate frontrunner for Mayfield’s services, as they just saw Jimmy Garoppolo suffer a season-ending injury, breaking his foot early in a win over the Dolphins. While Brock Purdy filled in admirably in an impressive win over a good Miami team, adding Mayfield would, at minimum, provide the Niners with some suddenly much-needed depth at the quarterback position, providing some insurance if Purdy isn’t able to perform consistently. Now, consistent performance has never been a hallmark of Mayfield’s game at the NFL level, but if there were ever a place for Mayfield to prove he can still run an offense, it’s in San Francisco where there are boatloads of playmakers and the QB’s job is very simply to just get them the ball as quickly as possible.