Panthers GM says Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold part of open competition at quarterback

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According to Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer, it's no guarantee that Baker Mayfield will be the team's starting quarterback in Week 1 against his former Cleveland Browns team-mates.

With Carolina’s acquisition of Mayfield from Cleveland for a conditional fifth-round draft pick in 2024 official, Fitterer met with the media on Tuesday and said the starting QB job is up for grabs with Mayfield, Sam Darnold, third-year pro P.J. Walker and rookie Matt Corral all in the mix.

"The reason why we added Baker was to make the group better as a whole," Fitterer said. "Our whole philosophy is to add competition not just in the quarterback room but every position.

"So if we see an opportunity to get better, where we can add a player that makes sense for us as a team, makes sense for us financially, makes sense for us just from an addition standpoint, we're going to do that.

"And with Baker being out there, having the conversations, it made sense for us."

Mayfield went 29-30 in 59 regular-season starts with the Browns after they selected him first overall in 2018. Darnold was taken two picks later by the New York Jets, who traded him to Carolina in April 2021.

Darnold appeared in 12 games last year in his first season with Carolina and went 4-7 in 11 starts.

"Sam really had a nice spring for us, stepped up, showed a lot of edge, threw the ball really well," Fitterer said. "And I think competition would be good for him, would be good for P.J., it's good for Matt Corral — the young guy that's going to be in the room learning. And it's good for Baker. It's a fresh start for him.

"So I think overall, it's a very healthy situation for us all to be in."

Potentially starting against the Browns in the season opener has Mayfield excited.

"I'm not going to sit here and be a robot and tell you that's not one I've marked on the calendar already," Mayfield said.

"One, that's not who I am. To me, it's about winning games. Whoever we have marked on the schedule, I'm going to try to win.

“Obviously, this one has a little more history and personal meaning, but for me, it's about winning and setting the tone for the rest of the year, and however I can help this team do that, I'm going to do."

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