With his team dishing out a king’s ransom of draft picks and the highest guaranteed contract in league history to woo over Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield doesn’t seem to have too much of a choice when it comes to his immediate playing future. But if he does, he might not want to put it in the hands of the Carolina Panthers—at least according to The Athletic‘s Mike Sando.
Filling in for Robert Mays on a recent episode of The Athletic Football Show podcast, the NFL senior writer proposed that Mayfield should probably steer clear of Charlotte in 2022. Although the Panthers have expressed some interest in acquiring the former No. 1 overall pick, their unstable situation heading into the upcoming campaign may not serve as an ideal relocation spot at the moment.
“I happen to think Carolina’s not a good fit for him,” Sando said. And I know Baker’s agents well, and they’re very competent people, they’re good people. They understand it too. But I think Carolina is a hornet’s nest—’cause I think the coach is under the gun, I think everybody there is under the gun. They’ve got an owner that is ready to press the button any day now on a reset. And if I’m Baker that could be ugly and messy. I don’t think that makes any sense to me.”
Co-host Randy Mueller—former NFL general manager of the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins—promptly agreed with Sando’s sentiment, adding that Carolina is “a terrible place” for Mayfield. And if we’re being frank, it really isn’t that optimal.
Surely, the outlook is more encouraging compared to what it was last year, especially offensively. The unit already seems to have a strong direction under new coordinator Ben McAdoo and has revamped its offensive line—an initiative highlighted by the addition of sixth overall pick Ikem Ekwonu.
What makes the Panthers a bit dicey, however, has much to do with where head coach Matt Rhule currently stands. If Rhule produces yet another underwhelming result this season, then him and a lot of his guys could be on the outs—including Mayfield and his expiring contract.