The Carolina Panthers are still open to adding a veteran quarterback like Cleveland Browns passer Baker Mayfield but will wait until after minicamp to evaluate where they stand.
The Panthers have been clear that they’re open to adding more competition to their quarterback room, which currently includes Sam Darnold, rookie Matt Corral and veteran journeyman PJ Walker. A name Carolina has been consistently linked to is displaced Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, who is currently in limbo with.
Panthers coach Matt Rhule said the team will wait until minicamp — which will be held June 14-16 — is over before taking a look at their options.
“I think as we finish minicamp, [GM] Scott [Fitterer] and I will talk, really at every position and say, ‘Hey, where are we?’” Rhule said when asked about adding a quarterback on Thursday. “I think at the end of next week—we sit down, we talk about, ‘Hey, where are we?’ We’ve had a chance to see these guys now for eight weeks, nine weeks. Where do we need to bring some more help in? And where do we need to look for somebody at? Where are we good at? I think those talks happen as you finish up minicamp.”
The Panthers will have to figure out whether or not they believe Darnold can be a reliable starter after a season where he went 4-7 as the lead man.
“I think Sam just has to keep working and developing,” Rhule said. “We’ve made the offensive line significantly improved in front of him. He’s learning this offense. He started over really at square one in this offense. I just think he has to just keep stacking days.”
Panthers, Browns Previously Talked Mayfield Trade
The main sticking point in negotiations involving Baker Mayfield has been his salary for next season, which comes in
. The Browns discussed a Mayfield trade with the Panthers during the NFL draft but never got close to a deal, per ESPN. Much of that was because the Panthers wanted the Browns to eat a significant chunk of Mayfield’s salary.
There’s also a bit of uncertainty about Mayfield’s ability to be a viable starter in the NFL. Last season he tossed 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions as the Browns finished 8-9, missing the playoffs. He had surgery on a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder this offseason but is expected to be ready to roll for training camp.
Mayfield has been absent from the Browns’ offseason activities and was excused by the team from mandatory minicamp on Wednesday.
“That was a decision made between our organization, Baker and Baker’s team,” Browns skipper Kevin Stefanski said. “Felt like that was the best decision for both sides.”
Browns Won’t Comment on Baker Mayfield Potentially Starting
There’s an idea floating around that the Browns are hanging on to Mayfield so he can play if Deshaun Watson is handed a hefty suspension by the league. However, considering how things have ended between Mayfield and the franchise that took him No. 1 overall in 2018, it’s unlikely.
Stefanski was asked about the possibility of Mayfield starting games but simply shrugged it off.
“I’m not going to comment on that,” Stefanski said. “Just going to make sure that I deal with everything that we’re dealing with football. Anything that’s outside the building just deal with it day to day.”
A last resort for the Browns would be cutting Mayfield, which would put them on the hook for all his salary but would also put an end to the drama that’s surrounded the team since March.