Baker Mayfield Believes He and Sam Darnold Can Help Each Other
The Carolina Panthers have a packed quarterback room after trading for Baker Mayfield. Alongside Mayfield, the Panthers will have Sam Darnold and rookie Matt Corral. This preseason, the Panthers will have to determine whether Mayfield or Darnold will be the starter. It wouldn’t be uncommon for this to result in a poor relationship between the two quarterbacks. However, Mayfield has noted that he and Darnold have already begun to work together, and he believes that they help each other improve.
“Sam reached out, got my number first,” Mayfield said. “We’ve been talking about how to get the guys together the last minute before camp. It’s been great. Sam just wants to win. That’s just who he is. Our personalities might be different, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the same goal, and that’s to win and help this team out. I’m really looking forward to being in that room with him and just challenging each other, and elevating each other.”Quote via the Carolina Panthers
Mayfield and Darnold are both vying for the starting quarterback position. The two will challenge one another and the better player will come out on top. That should help motivate each guy to be at their best.
Seeing a quarterback competition may also help Corral. Despite looking good at minicamp, it is unlikely he gets much playing time this season. Instead, he will sit behind the two veterans and watch them compete for a starting role.
This is not Mayfield’s first quarterback competition, but it will be his first on the NFL level. When he transferred from Texas Tech to Oklahoma he had to compete for a starting role.
“Obviously, the NFL is different than college, but walking on twice, and having to go through that process, you level the playing field,” Mayfield said. “You compete against other guys, and you build confidence in yourself. It’s very similar to when I left Texas Tech to go to Oklahoma. They had one of my best friends, Trevor Knight, who had just won the Sugar Bowl, was the MVP, he was going to be a sophomore. I decided to transfer there, knowing there was going to be competition, and it wasn’t going to be easy. It’s about betting on yourself and believing in that, and giving it your all. And just trying to be a good teammate and help everybody win.”Quote via Carolina Panthers
This quarterback competition should be close, but Mayfield will likely have the advantage. He has led successful teams and has performed better of late. In 2021, Mayfield threw for 3,010 yards and 17 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. On the other hand, Darnold threw for 2,527 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. It was an underwhelming season, but it was his first season in Carolina after being traded by the New York Jets. Regardless, Mayfield and Darnold will each have to prove that they are starting caliber in training camp.
*Stats via Pro Football Reference*