Baker Mayfield Has 4-Word Response on Panthers Exodus

Baker Mayfield

Getty Baker Mayfield looks forward to facing his old team.

Baker Mayfield walked the NFL version of a plank with the Carolina Panthers and ultimately landed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The veteran quarterback and former No. 1 draft pick shared his thoughts on facing the Panthers for the first time since his 2022 exodus. Mayfield bounced around three teams that year when many wrote off his NFL career.

“I believe everything happens for a reason. God [has] got a plan,” Mayfield told reporters on Wednesday. “I got to meet some great teammates there and some great support staff, as well, and I enjoyed it. Obviously, it wasn’t the full season — I got to finish up in L.A. — but yeah, it was [at] a time I needed to get out of Cleveland.”

“It was a fresh start for me. Obviously, it didn’t pan out the way I envisioned it, but everything happens for a reason. I’m here now and I expect to have a good game against some familiar faces. It will be fun,” Mayfield added.

The Buccaneers (4-7) host the Panthers (1-9) in a must-win game for Week 12. Tampa Bay could stay in the NFC South race, but a loss could thwart any chances of a third-straight division crown.

Last season, the Panthers beat the Buccaneers in the first meeting amid a change at quarterback with P.J. Walker, who started the game for Carolina. This time, the Panthers have a new head coach on the sideline amid the recent firing for Frank Reich.

Baker Mayfield is Familiar With Panthers Defense

Mayfield, who was with the  Panthers until December 2022, has familiarity with the team’s defense. Despite the Panthers’ decline this year, the team still has formidable talent on that side of the ball.

“Starting up front, Brian Burns is a stud. He can do it all. Derrick Brown is a monster. You’ve got to control those guys up front,” Mayfield said. “You can’t let them wreck the game.”

“Frankie Luvu runs around. Obviously, they lost Shaq Thompson, a really good player. In their back end, they have good players. We’re expecting to have Jaycee Horn show back up for us, and Jeremy Chinn, as well,” Mayfield continued. “A lot of talented players, and so it will be a good matchup for us and a good test for us. We just need to handle it correctly.”

Tampa Bay’s offense has put up 20 or more points in three of the past four games. Carolina gives up 26.5 points per game, one of the worst marks in the league.

Baker Mayfield Wants to Keep Mike Evans Connection Strong

Mayfield hopes to connect with star wide receiver Mike Evans in the red zone again, which worked  twice in Week 12 against the Indianapolis Colts.

“I think the first touchdown shows exactly why Mike is so great. He understands it’s a two-man concept,” Mayfield said.

“If he runs it a certain way, they could pass the concept off, but he gives an inside leverage stem and really makes the guy think he is going to go in, loses him… when you show the film, there is not anybody in the picture when he has the ball in his hands, ” Mayfield continued.

“He understands how to beat coverages [and] how to win off coverages,” Mayfield added. “He has done it consistently. It’s obviously pretty easy to throw to and he makes my job easy.”