The Carolina Panthers are among the teams that have been linked to the beleaguered Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield as his trade destination. However, the Panthers also still have Sam Darnold, who may not be the franchise quarterback they are looking for, but he’s also not a cheap asset they would be pleased to see languishing on the bench. Then there’s also the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, where the Panthers could get their real quarterback of the future.
The Panthers are even set to get a visit from arguably the best quarterback prospect in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, per Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
The #Panthers continue to do work as they gear up for pick No 6, hosting, a few prospects in consideration: #UNC QB Sam Howell, #NCState OL Ickey Ekwonu, and #MSU OL Charles Cross are all visiting, sources say. Howell and Ekwonu are local visits.
Holding the sixth pick overall, the Panthers have a clear chance of getting a top-tier quarterback prospect if they want to. If they get Howell — or any other QB — in the first round, that could very well mean that any plan to trade for Mayfield is effectively over. Apart from Darnold, the Panthers also still have PJ Walker.
Mayfield knows that his time as a Browns starting quarterback is now over after the team decided to bring in Deshaun Watson via a trade with the Houston Texans before signing the controversial Clemson product to a record-setting extension deal. While Mayfield has great experience as a starter in the NFL, the gap between him and Darnold isn’t wide enough for the Panthers to be completely sold on him — for now.
As for Howell, he played three years with the North Carolina Tar Heels in college and put up solid numbers along the way. He finished his collegiate career in the 2021 NCAA football season with 10,283 passing yards and 92 touchdowns against 23 interceptions.