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Panthers Don't Plan to Trade Sam Darnold After Baker Mayfield Acquisition, per Report

Despite the Panthers acquiring quarterback Baker Mayfield from the Browns on Wednesday, Carolina has no plans to trade quarterback Sam Darnold.

Joe Person of The Athletic reported that the franchise envisions Mayfield and Darnold competing for starting job “although a quarterback injury could change that.”

Cleveland traded Mayfield to the Panthers for a 2024 conditional fifth-round pick, and according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, that draft pick becomes a fourth-rounder if the quarterback “plays 70% of the Panthers’ offensive snaps this season.”

Mayfield was set to make $18.86 million this season, which was a reason a trade for Mayfield had not already happened prior to Wednesday. With the trade, the Browns agreed to pay Mayfield $10.5 million of the contract with the Panthers agreeing to pay $4.86 million and Mayfield agreeing to a $3.5 million pay cut, per Person. 

Carolina’s trade discussions for Mayfield heated up following the 2022 NFL draft in April. But even with that, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said in June that a Darnold trade for Mayfield was “very unlikely” and that Darnold would be the team’s signal caller if the team had to play a game last month.

“Sam’s gotten a lot better, he’s really improving in the offense,” Rhule said on Sam Darnold in June. “If we played today, Sam would be our quarterback.”

Darnold, who is entering his fifth NFL season, threw for 2,527 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions through 12 games in the 2021 season. He is learning his fourth offensive system since ’18 under new Panthers offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. Since Darnold was drafted in ’18, he has thrown 54 touchdowns, 52 interceptions and compiled a 17-32 record as starter.

However, Darnold told reporters in May that he believes that he can be one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks this season.

“As long as I know what we’re doing, what the defense is doing, I’m confident I can be one of the best quarterbacks in the league,” Darnold said, per ESPN.

As Darnold continues to his progression in learning McAdoo’s offensive scheme, Mayfield will be doing the same along with former Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, who the franchise selected in this year’s NFL draft. 

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