Nov 10, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws a pass during pregame warmups against the Atlanta Falcons at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers name Baker Mayfield starting QB in Week 11

Baker Mayfield is returning to starting quarterback in Week 11.

Erstwhile starter PJ Walker suffered a high-ankle sprain in last Thursday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons and won’t be available against the Baltimore Ravens this week.

Sam Darnold will back up Mayfield, Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks said Monday.

Walker played the entire game against the Bengals, completing 10 of 16 passes for 108 yards. Walker started the past five games after Mayfield injured his ankle, but then remained the starter even after Mayfield was healthy enough to return. Walker went 2-3.

Mayfield is 1-4 as the starter this season, completing 56.6 percent of his passes for 1,117 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions.

Darnold just came off injured reserve and was activated last week after suffering a high-ankle sprain during a preseason game. He has not appeared in a game this season.

The Panthers (3-7) visit the Ravens (6-3) on Sunday. The Ravens are coming off their bye week. Mayfield is 3-5 lifetime against the Ravens, making those starts as quarterback of the Cleveland Browns.

–Field Level Media

Aug 19, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) on the sideline as they take on the New England Patriots in the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers designate QB Sam Darnold to return from IR

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold and defensive tackle Bravvion Roy were designated to return from injured reserve on Wednesday.

The moves open a 21-day practice window for Darnold and Roy to be placed on the 53-man roster. They can be returned to the active roster at any time.

Darnold, 25, was injured in Carolina’s final preseason game after Buffalo Bills defensive tackle C.J. Brewer rolled over his left foot. Darnold was carted off the field.

Fellow quarterback Baker Mayfield is nursing an ankle injury and sat out the Panthers’ 24-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday. PJ Walker sustained a neck injury in that contest.

Mayfield, 27, has completed a career-low 54.9 percent of his passes for just 962 yards, with four touchdowns against four interceptions in five games this season.

Darnold threw for 2,527 yards with nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games last season for the Panthers.

He has completed 59.8 percent of his passes with 54 touchdowns and 52 picks in 50 career games with the New York Jets and Panthers. He was selected by the Jets with the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Roy, 26, was placed on injured reserve after hurting his hamstring in Week 2.

He has two tackles in two games this season and 61 to go along with one sack in 34 career contests with the Panthers.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) looks to pass as offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu (79) blocks in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Panthers QB Baker Mayfield (ankle) might skip IR stint

Carolina Panthers starting quarterback Baker Mayfield escaped major damage to his ankle and could return within the next four games, possibly avoiding a stint on injured reserve, NFL Network reported Tuesday.

Going on IR would require Mayfield to sit out four games.

Mayfield suffered a high-ankle sprain in Sunday’s 37-15 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The upshot from second opinions is that the injury doesn’t require surgery, and he could miss anywhere from two to six weeks, per the report.

PJ Walker — who is 2-0 in his career as a starter for Carolina — likely will get the call for the Panthers (1-4) in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Rams (2-3).

Against the 49ers, Mayfield limped to the locker room with 11 seconds remaining in the first half after a player fell on his left ankle. He returned to play the second half.

Mayfield, who has struggled this season, completed 20 of 36 passes for 215 yards and no touchdowns with an interception returned for a touchdown against the Niners. For the season, he has completed just 54.9 percent of his passes for 962 yards, with four TDs and four picks.

Last season’s starter, Sam Darnold, remains on injured reserve with an ankle injury suffered during a preseason contest.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) makes his way to the locker room before the final seconds of the end of the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Report: X-rays negative on Baker Mayfield’s foot

X-rays on Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield’s left foot were negative, NFL Network reported Monday.

Mayfield will have an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of an injury sustained in Sunday’s 37-15 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He limped to the locker room with 11 seconds remaining in the first half after a player fell on his left ankle.

Mayfield, who was in a walking boot when he met reporters after the game, returned to play most of the second half.

“A little painful right now,” Mayfield said after the game. “I’m not real sure exactly what it is. We’ll examine that (Monday) and find out. So right now I’m managing the pain and learning to step in the boot.”

If Mayfield isn’t available to play against the Los Angeles Rams (2-3) next Sunday, P.J. Walker — who is 2-0 in his career as a starter for Carolina — would likely get the call for the Panthers (1-4).

Mayfield, who has struggled this season, completed 20 of 36 passes for 215 yards and no touchdowns with an interception returned for a touchdown against the Niners. For the season, he has completed just 54.9 percent of his passes for 962 yards, with four TDs and four picks.

Last season’s starter, Sam Darnold, remains on injured reserve with an ankle injury suffered during a preseason contest.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes the ball in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers QB Baker Mayfield in a boot; Week 6 status unknown

Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield was wearing a walking boot when he met with reporters after injuring his left ankle in Sunday’s 37-15 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Charlotte, N.C.

Mayfield limped into the locker room with 11 seconds left in the first half after a player fell on his ankle. Despite the injury, Mayfield played most of the second half until PJ Walker (5-for-6, 60 yards) came on to finish the game.

“A little painful right now,” Mayfield told reporters after the game. “I’m not real sure exactly what it is. We’ll examine that tomorrow and find out. So right now I’m managing the pain and learning to step in the boot.”

If Mayfield isn’t available to play against the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday, Walker — who is 2-0 as a starter for Carolina — will likely get the call.

Mayfield, who has struggled this season, completed 20 of 36 passes for 215 yards and no touchdowns and an interception returned for a touchdown. Mayfield’s 16.6 Total QBR is the second worst by a quarterback in the first five games of a season, ahead of only the Raiders’ JaMarcus Russell in 2008.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule has said last season’s starter, Sam Darnold, won’t be back anytime soon. Darnold is eligible to come off injured reserve following a late August ankle injury, but hasn’t been activated.

–Field Level Media

Aug 19, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) exits the field after the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Baker Mayfield reunion looms over Browns-Panthers opener

As if Baker Mayfield does not already command a spotlight wherever he goes, the 2022 season opener comes with an extra level of shine for the new Carolina Panthers quarterback.

Mayfield’s presence has expectedly loomed large since he arrived from the Cleveland Browns in an July trade.

Now comes Baker’s chance to make his mark on the field when the Panthers open the season Sunday afternoon at home against those Browns.

The Panthers’ trade for Mayfield came after the Browns acquired QB Deshaun Watson in March.

“It ended abruptly and unexpectedly, but we’re here now,” Mayfield said Wednesday. “Everything happens for a reason and I’m rolling with the punches.”

At least in the lead-in to Sunday’s game, Mayfield has tried to downplay the decision by his former team to move into a new direction.

“It doesn’t give me an edge, nor does it give them an edge,” Mayfield said. “It gives us both familiarity.”

Mayfield won the Panthers’ first-string QB job in a training-camp competition with Sam Darnold, who has since landed on the injury list.

“This system is going to fit me well,” Mayfield said. “The whole offense is going to grow.”

The Browns don’t want to be consumed with the quarterback saga either, although they did create it.

“It’s Browns vs. Panthers,” Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski said. “It’s pretty simple. We have to prepare for their offense, their defense, their special teams.”

Carolina coach Matt Rhule said Mayfield has been quizzed by his teammates in order to gain insight about the Browns.

Stefanski said the Browns don’t want to alter their tendencies just because Mayfield is on the other side.

“You don’t want to overthink those types of things,” said Stefanski, who admitted to altering some signals and play calls ahead of the showdown.

The Browns will have Jacoby Brissett as their starting quarterback as Watson serves an 11-game suspension to begin the season over sexual misconduct accusations.

Brissett is familiar to many in North Carolina after he finished his college career at North Carolina State in 2014-15.

Cleveland’s offense also added four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys.

The Browns have nine of their 11 defensive starters from 2021 in place, making that side of the ball the potential strength of the team at least until Brissett and the offense find a groove. Defensive ends Myles Garrett (Browns single-season record 16 sacks last season) and Jadeveon Clowney will be pursuing Mayfield.

Neither team made the postseason last year with sub-.500 records. The Panthers were 5-12, while the Browns were a disappointing 8-9.

“The first game does offer a little bit of suspense,” Rhule said.

It’s a return of storylines to some degree for the Panthers. Last September, Darnold was in his first game with Carolina and faced his former team, the New York Jets, in Charlotte and came out on top.

That gave the Panthers their first victory in a season opener since 2018.

The Panthers have a new kicker in Eddy Pineiro, who has spent time with six organizations and most notably played all 16 games for the 2019 Chicago Bears. He was 8 of 8 on field goals last year for the Jets.

Rhule said the Panthers are anxious to start anew, but he would like to see the type of focus that was present during the past month.

“They did a great job of that all camp and I just reminded them to stay that way this week,” he said.

Carolina’s lone player on the injury list was tight end/fullback Giovanni Ricci, who was limited in Wednesday’s workout because of a hip ailment. He plays on several special teams.

The Panthers are 4-2 all-time (and 2-0 at home) against Cleveland, though the Browns won the most recent meeting in 2018 in Mayfield’s rookie season.

–Field Level Media

Aug 19, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) exits the field after the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers announce Baker Mayfield starting QB

The Carolina Panthers on Monday named Baker Mayfield the team’s starting quarterback for the 2022 season.

Mayfield was the presumptive starter over incumbent Sam Darnold since the Panthers traded for him in July. The Panthers open their season on Sept. 11 against the Cleveland Browns — Mayfield’s former team.

Mayfield and Darnold had alternated reps with the starters throughout training camp. Mayfield started the Panthers’ first preseason game against Washington and threw for 45 yards on 4-of-7 passing. Neither QB played in Friday’s preseason game against New England.

Mayfield becomes Carolina’s fourth different Week 1 starter in four seasons, following Cam Newton (2019), Teddy Bridgewater (2020) and Darnold (2021).

Mayfield, 27, completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 14 starts last season for the Browns.

Darnold, 25, completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,527 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games (11 starts) for the Panthers in 2021.

Mayfield and Darnold were the Nos. 1 and 3 overall picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, respectively.

Panthers rookie QB Matt Corral suffered a Lisfranc injury against the Patriots that likely will end his season.

–Field Level Media

Former OU quarterback Baker Mayfield speaks to the crowd at Owen Field on April 23 in Norman.

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Panthers GM: ‘Open competition’ at quarterback

Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said Tuesday that the starting quarterback position will be an open competition between newly acquired Baker Mayfield and incumbent Sam Darnold.

Fitterer made the comments during an introductory press conference for Mayfield, who the Panthers acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Browns last week.

“This is an open competition. The reason why we added Baker is to make the group better as a whole,” Fitterer said.

For his part, Mayfield said he’s happy for a “fresh start,” though he said taking a $3.5 million pay cut to facilitate the trade “wasn’t easy.”

“There was a little bit of sacrifice on all three fronts, between Cleveland, Carolina, and myself,” Mayfield said. “To me, it’s ready for a fresh start first and foremost. I’m extremely grateful for the four years I had in Cleveland, it’s a great football town.

“… But when it came down to it, it was wanting a fresh start, wanting to be with a coach and a GM that truly wanted me,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield said he and Darnold have already chatted.

“Sam reached out, got my number first,” Mayfield said. “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.”

Darnold was selected No. 3 overall by the New York Jets in 2018 — the same year the Browns took Mayfield No. 1.

“I’m really looking forward to being in that room with him and just challenging each other and elevating each other.”

Fitterer said the Panthers and Browns had been discussing a trade since the draft but that Mayfield’s contract situation was the biggest obstacle.

The Browns are paying $10.5 million of Mayfield’s salary while the Panthers are picking up $4.85 million, per reports. Mayfield was set to earn $18.85 million this season on his fifth-year option.

The Browns get either a fourth- or fifth-round pick in 2024. Mayfield needs to play 70 percent of the snaps for it to become a fourth-rounder.

Mayfield said he made a deal with Panthers punter Johnny Hekker for the No. 6 jersey.

–Field Level Media

Former OU quarterback Baker Mayfield speaks to the crowd at Owen Field on April 23 in Norman.

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Browns QB Baker Mayfield: Both sides ‘ready to move on’

Baker Mayfield says that he and the Cleveland Browns are both “ready to move on.”

The 27-year-old quarterback spoke with reporters Tuesday at his youth football camp in Norman, Okla.

Mayfield didn’t completely rule out a reconciliation if the NFL suspends his replacement, Deshaun Watson.

“I think for that to happen there would have to be some reaching out,” Mayfield said. “But we’re ready to move on, I think — on both sides.”

Watson, 26, is scheduled to have a hearing with disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson on Tuesday.

The hearing will center on the 26 women who accused Watson of unwanted advances and inappropriate sexual conduct during massage appointments during his time with the Houston Texas.

The Browns acquired Watson from the Texans in a trade in March and gave him $230 million in guaranteed money on a five-year deal.

Mayfield has been excused from the Browns’ offseason activities while the team attempts to find a trade partner.

He is due a fully guaranteed salary of $18.86 million in 2022, the final season of his rookie contract.

Mayfield is 29-30 as a starter since the Browns made him the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. He has completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 14,125 yards, 92 touchdowns and 56 interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) walks off the field with the team before the game between the Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Browns won’t cut Baker Mayfield if no trade partner found

The Cleveland Browns would rather live with the awkwardness of having quarterback Baker Mayfield on their 2022 roster than take the monumental salary-cap hit of releasing him.

Cleveland.com reported Sunday that if the Browns can’t find a trade partner for Mayfield, they will not cut him, even when training camp begins in July.

The Browns traded for quarterback Deshaun Watson in March and gave him a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract. But Watson remains under investigation by the NFL for numerous accusations of sexual misconduct and assault and could face a suspension in 2022.

Mayfield is fully guaranteed an $18.86 million salary in 2022, the final year of his rookie contract.

The Carolina Panthers discussed a Mayfield deal with the Browns, but multiple reports have said Carolina backed away from the table because the Browns were not willing to cover $13 million to $14 million of Mayfield’s 2022 salary.

Mayfield did not report to the Browns’ first voluntary program of the offseason last month. He said on a podcast appearance that he felt “disrespected 100 percent” by Cleveland when the team acquired Watson.

The Browns, who also signed quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Josh Dobbs as backups, could be without Watson for a significant portion of 2022 if he is suspended. Two Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson earlier this year, but 22 women whom he hired as massage therapists have filed civil lawsuits against him.

–Field Level Media