The Carolina Panthers got a nice discount on Baker Mayfield in a trade with the Carolina Panthers. They're hoping that move pays off big.
Mayfield, who was acquired for a conditional 2024 fifth-round draft pick after the Cleveland Browns agreed to pick up $10.5 million of the quarterback's salary, was recently named the Panthers' starter and he looked sharp in his final preseason test.
It's not easy to join a team in early July and be ready to quarterback that club two months later, but Mayfield didn't play like he's still learning the playbook.
Mayfield mostly looked comfortable against the Buffalo Bills, despite not playing with many starters. He made an outstanding pass to tight end Stephen Sullivan for a 21-yard gain to get Carolina's second possession going. Later in the drive he threw a rope to Chuba Hubbard in between defenders, but Hubbard dropped it. It was still a nice throw. The drive was kept alive by a defensive penalty on fourth down, and Mayfield capped it with a fourth-and-goal touchdown pass to D'Onta Foreman from the 2-yard line.
Mayfield was 6-of-8 for 51 yards on the scoring drive.
After a Bills turnover gave the Panthers good field position, Mayfield struck again. He didn't have anything open, bought some time as he rolled right, and found wide-open Shi Smith in the end zone for a 19-yard score.
Mayfield's night was done after that. He finished 9-of-15 for 89 yards. It was against the Bills' backup defense, but it was still a solid performance in the preseason finale. The Panthers wanted Mayfield to get extra reps, even as other starters sat, and they had to be pleased with the results.
The Panthers said there was a quarterback competition between Mayfield and Sam Darnold, though nobody thought there was any chance Darnold could win the job. Mayfield was finally named the starter, which was inevitable. Carolina took a shot on Mayfield, hoping to spark the former No. 1 overall pick's career in his second stop. He looked good on Friday night.