Matt Rhule praised Sam Darnold‘s work at the Panthers’ latest OTA session, and exiting the team’s offseason program, the former No. 3 overall pick remains on track to be Carolina’s starting quarterback. But Rhule said the team is keeping the door open for an addition to this rather important position group, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets.
As teams do following minicamp, the Panthers will assess their roster to determine spots where veterans would provide needed assistance. While it would seem time is running out to bring in someone like Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo and expect the newcomer to be proficient in Ben McAdoo‘s offense by September, Rhule said (via Person, on Twitter) an addition just before training camp would give a new player sufficient preparation time.
A trade or free agent signing just before camp would be asking a lot from a veteran quarterback, who would be well behind Darnold in the new offensive coordinator’s system. But the Panthers have been the only known team to enter into substantive negotiations with the Browns for Mayfield. Those talks, though, were not believed to have gone far.
A previous report indicated the Browns were willing to pay “a good chunk” of Mayfield’s fully guaranteed $18.9MM salary, but Person indicates differently, noting Cleveland was willing to pick up barely $3MM of Mayfield’s contract (subscription required). Unsurprisingly, those negotiations broke down, leading the Panthers to Matt Corral in Round 3. The Panthers are believed to want the Browns to pay at least $13MM of that money, leading to this staredown — one in which the Browns hope the Panthers balk at another Darnold season while Carolina envisions Cleveland cutting its four-year starter. Perhaps the Browns have budged a bit since the teams’ mid-draft talks, but this certainly is a sizable financial gulf. These two teams are also first and second in terms of cap space.
Various NFL staffers expect the Browns and 49ers to each cut their trade block-stationed QBs, per ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano, who adds a straw poll among those execs placed Mayfield as more likely to be Seattle-bound and Garoppolo to head to North Carolina. That would be understandable, with the flipside of this scenario potentially involving an intra-NFC West trade. The Seahawks are also interested in Mayfield as a free agent.
The 49ers have more of a timetable here, with Garoppolo’s $24.2MM salary nonguaranteed until the regular season starts. After that date, Garoppolo’s vested-veteran status locks in that figure, putting some pressure on San Francisco to either carry the salary or cut bait come September. Mayfield’s money is already guaranteed, giving the Browns the option hold onto him into the regular season. It will be interesting to see how the ex-Heisman winner proceeds to prevent such a scenario. Mayfield’s January surgery on his non-throwing shoulder has not been an issue for teams, per Graziano, whereas Garoppolo’s March procedure on his right shoulder hijacked the 49ers’ trade effort.
Carolina, which checked on Russell Wilson and met with Deshaun Watson, saw Darnold rank 29th in QBR last season. Though a healthier Christian McCaffrey and the improved offensive line the Panthers should have may change the fifth-year passer’s outlook, it would still seem a gamble for Rhule to tie his hot seat to Darnold for a second season.
40 comments on “Door Still Open For Panthers QB Addition”
The O-line will be better with the additions, but they cannot count on a healthy McCaffrey. It is just my opinion, but I feel that Mayfield is a significant upgrade to Darnold when healthy.
Lol…that’s not an opinion…that’s fact
They Panthers can stink without Mayfield just as easily as they can stink with him…this is a real misreading of leverage by Cleveland…
The Browns must assume that EVERY team desperately panics and overpays for quarterbacks.
I mean, the Panthers certainly have done that recently.
trubiskys career really hasn’t been much different than Mayfields, and the steelers got him for pennies on the dollar
the bills paid even less
Pennies on the dollar? What on earth do you think Trubisky has shown he’s worth?
I think thats accurate for Mitch.
pennies on the dollar is compared to Bakers 20 mil which he’s definitely not worth.
thus why no one wants him at that rate , but would jump on him for around 7-10mil next off-season.
That makes sense, though you’d figure at some point Cleveland would eat half the deal just to save the other half, which would get him to that range this offseason.
yes. exactly… I’m confused as to why Cleveland isn’t willing to eat a large portion.
suprisingly seems to be pointing to them wanting to hold their card(baker) incase Watson can not play at all this season
I can’t imagine a scenario where Baker plays in Cleveland this year. Maybe more that they’re hoping another team gets desperate.
key word surprisingly…
I just don’t understand what they’re doing
Cleveland has 31% of their cap on two QBs. They’re still going to get hit with Dead cap money against themselves even if they get someone to take on the context.
I think you’d be very surprised at how similar baker and Mitchell’s careers have been.
but for some reason Baker is looked at as a gut who got a raw deal despite being in a fantastic situation, where as Mitch is looked at as a bust and loser despite being part of a terrible offense.
bakers like a 94 rating.. Mitch a 92 which doesn’t include his domination in the QB scramble department between the 2
Given that Baker had a rock bottom Hugh year, a Kitchens year, and then was clearly playing hurt much of last year, I’m not sure I agree about their situations. But we’re not exactly picking between two of the higher functioning situations.
well ya not widescoping situation, just meant the offenses around them.
Browns gave Baker every weapon and linemate necessary to succeed
you’re right tho, between the shoulder and Kitchens its not been ideal
Also gave him 4 head coaches and 4 offensive systems to learn to 4 years so it’s not like he was walking into what mahomes has in KC. He’s had zero stability from the browns from the get go.
its not like Matt Nagy helped Trubisky in any way shape or form..
Mayfield would be a huge upgrade vs what the Panthers already have. I think Mayfield makes the Panthers a playoff team! Make the trade already!
At best, Mayfield gets them above the Falcons, but not above the Saints or Bucs.
Acquiring him achieves nothing unless they plan to keep him long term.
So this thing where the Browns think “you’ll suck less” is some great sales pitch…?
If you’re only going to acquire Mayfield for one year, I agree. I would think whoever trades for him is expecting to have him longer than this year. Brady will be gone after this year and I think Mayfield is better than Winston.
OK, but…you do see the problem with the Browns trying to sell “Baker Mayfield is a franchise quarterback who you want leading your team long term”, right?
He was injured last year and that played a part. After the 2020 season and the playoffs, Mayfield finished strong and expectations were high. He’s not a top 10 quarterback but I think when healthy, I’d put him somewhere 15-18. I don’t think the Browns are trying to sell him off as a franchise quarterback
If he’s not a franchise quarterback, why would another team want to keep him long term and give up assets for him?
Placeholders come cheap.
What do you consider a franchise quarterback? He’s been in the league 4 years and took a team that was 1-31 before he got there to a playoff win in his 3rd year. Is he Brady or Rodgers? No. But the Browns aren’t exactly asking for a lot for him. He has a better chance of being a franchise quarterback than anyone he’d be replacing
Unless they get whopper new deals I doubt either Mayfield or Garappolo would choose to venture into the mess that is Carolina or Seattle. Better to sign one of those $10 million backup deals and wait for next years frenzy to start anew – as a job in Tampa or New Orleans could open up in 2023.
Baker is already signed for 18 million. Your scenario might be right, just a year early.
I’m not to sure Cleveland is all that eager on dumping Baker until some clarification hits with Watson. Baker might still be the starter if/when Watson gets suspended or booted from the league.
That’s not happening. That’s why they signed Brissett and they’re installing a different offense catered to those quarterbacks. If that were the case, Mayfield wouldn’t have been excused from mandatory workouts
If you’re an NFL bottom dweller you basically have two options. Draft a QB prospect every year until you find one worth developing or become a clearing house for stop-gap QBs who could never achieve their potential, Looks like the Panthers favor the second option.
Remember, Mayfield is SO good and such a good locker room presence that the Browns told him to stay home while they roster Jacoby Brissett.
So, they are trying to sell the Seahawks and Panthers on the idea that “you can’t enter a season of play with a QB worse than Baker Mayfield when he’s available, you should upgrade to him over the lesser QB you plan to use” when that’s their own plan.
Mayfield is better than Drew Lock, Gino Smith, Sam Darnold and Matt Coral. I don’t think the Browns are trying to make him out to be anything but who he’s been. He had a very good rookie year, a bad 2nd year, a good 3rd year and an injury marred bad 4th year
You seem unfamiliar with the concept of “damning with faint praise.”
Better than Geno Smith, wow.
I guess the Seahawks will pass the Rams, Niners and Cards if they get Mayfield?
Well since Murray isn’t better than Rodgers or Brady, I guess the Cardinals should just give up? The idea is to upgrade the position and Mayfield is an upgrade over the 4 I mentioned. Rodgers was actually better than anyone last year and he went in the first game. Mayfield would give both Seattle and Carolina a better team
No one is giving up anything of value to upgrade from a 4th place team to a slightly better 4th place team.
You should know that if you’re a Steelers fan. Trubisky? So you don’t make any free agent signings if it doesn’t make you a Super Bowl team? I think you’re just playing stupid
I’m worried you are NOT playing.
If everything you said was right, someone would have already traded for him.
No one has traded for him.
His value is as a clearance rack placeholder and he will not be moved until the Browns understand this.
Let’s trade Watson to Carolina and rid ourselves of the embarrassment.
Carolina is not touching that until the situation is resolved.
They wanted him before and the situation wasn’t resolved
The price Mayfield might only get hire if Watson is injured.