The Baker-Mayfield experiment has come to an end in Charlotte. The Panthers released the former first overall pick Monday, ending a daunting season that did not go as planned. However, the move was coming, but no one anticipated it to be this soon.
Interim coach Steve Wilks placed PJ Walker ahead of Baker on the depth chart on Monday, meaning he will be the backup behind Sam Darnold against the Seahawks in Week 14. This depth chart move potentially made Baker feel ambushed because he asked for a release from the team, and the Panthers agreed.
Baker The Benchwarmer
The Panthers had valid reasons to keep Baker on the bench due to his underachieving expectations during his brief tenure with the team. As a starter, Baker Mayfield was 1-6 with the Panthers and was not very good at leading the team to victories.
Steve Wilks says it was a “tough decision” releasing the QB, “Baker Mayfield has been a complete pro. Nothing but respect for him.” However, Baker was a Rhule guy and not a Wilks guy. The Baker move caused a self-inflicted wound to the Panthers organization, ultimately leading to Baker’s demise as a starter.
In October, Mayfield’s job was questioned. “Did you question my job? I am confident with where I am at. We have to figure it out and move forward.” However, Mayfield never improved, and he clearly didn’t figure it out. He went from the starter, to being benched multiple times this season and now the quarterback is looking for a new home as he enter the waiver wires.
Baker’s Browns Unsweet Devotion
“Trust me when I say this, I have revenge against the Browns for trading me” – Baker Mayfield. Baker’s mindset has not been right since being traded from the Browns. His lack of success with the Panthers cost the Browns a fourth-round pick for next year’s draft. Instead, they will receive a fifth-rounder from the Panthers.
Furthermore, the Browns would not franchise tag Mayfield to keep him past 2022. In addition, Baker did not snap over 70 percent of the snaps for Carolina, which makes his revenge against the Browns sweeter.
Three Potential Landing Spots
The Los Angeles Rams are also a team that needs assistance at the quarterback position. Matthew Stafford is out for the season, and Sean McVay is down to using Bryce Perkins and John Wolford. The Rams have a shot at getting Mayfield if they want him, but their season is not saveable. However, if he is up for the task, Baker could give the team chances to win games.
The Houston Texans need a new quarterback badly. Houston benched Davis Mills, second-year, to watch Kyle Allen’s daunting QB experiences, turning the ball over four times, including a pick-six in their previous game. Mills or Allen are not long-term solutions in Houston, leading the team to 1-10-1. Mayfield may not be a long-term solution, but he has experience. Baker is not a “Face of the Franchise” player, but the potential is there.
The San Francisco 49ers have a quarterback position that needs help. The Niners just lost their starting quarterback for the season. Jimmy Garoppolo broke his foot which will require season-ending injury surgery. Trey Lance, QB, is also dealing with a season-ending injury. The team could use Baker as a backup to add depth to the position, but Baker’s ego could get in the way.
There is no guarantee that Mayfield will go to either team, but he wants to be a Niner. During the waiver wire, any team can claim Baker; San Francisco is No. 24 on the list and is competing for the NFC West Division title.
Other teams are in the mix of keeping Baker’s hopes of being a 49er away, and with the weapons that the Niners have, he could help lead them to the playoffs. However, his inconsistency makes things questionable. Any team that claims Mayfield will owe him $1.35 million guaranteed, which is the remaining price on his contract for the campaign. If no one claims him this week, he will be free to negotiate a contract with a new team.
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