Matt Rhule and the Carolina Panthers are always in the NFL rumor mill.
Right now the running rumor is the Panthers making a trade deal for Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The rumor got legs when Carolina’s coaches can’t stick with who’s going to be starting quarterback in 2022.
However, making a trade for Mayfield would end in disaster for Carolina.
There are three reasons Carolina shouldn’t trade for the disgruntled quarterback.
3. Mayfield’s 2022 Contract Is Too Costly For Carolina
If Carolina traded for Mayfield, they’d be stuck with two quarterbacks that make over $18 million each for 2022.
No one will trade for Sam Darnold with his $18+ million contract for this season.
Carolina picked up the fifth-year option on quarterback Sam Darnold, who was acquired in a trade with the New York Jets last offseason, and faces a $18.9 million cap number in 2022 as part of the deal.
— Late Night Parent (@latenightparent) March 15, 2022
If they cut him, they’d have to pay his salary.
Paying over $36 million for two quarterbacks that, in reality, aren’t worth $4 million each hurts with rebuilding the team.
However, if the Browns paid a portion of Mayfield’s salary, a trade could happen.
But why would they want to pay for someone they won’t have on their roster?
Mayfield could rework his contract to make him a trade-friendly quarterback.
However, why would he want to give up money when he gets paid no matter what happens to him in 2022?
In the end, his contract will remain too costly for Carolina to pick up in 2022.
2. Mayfield Is Coming Off A Bad 2021 Season
Darnold’s season was poor, but Mayfield shared the same boat with him in 2021.
He posted career lows in passing yards and touchdowns during his 2021 season with Cleveland.
Regressing like that early in his career means trouble for him.
Elite starting quarterbacks don’t see that regression until their ninth or tenth year in the NFL.
However, he played injured during some of the 2021 season and missed games as well.
While those shouldn’t be excuses for his poor play, they could have factored into his poor decision-making.
Carolina can’t afford another quarterback that’s going downhill.
Cam Newton knows full well what it’s like to fall from grace with the Panthers.
Mayfield would join him if the team traded for him.
1. Baker Mayfield Is A Repackaged Sam Darnold
With Mayfield, the Panthers would get a repackaged Darnold with playoff experience.
Both quarterbacks NFL careers started in 2018.
While Darnold has never had a winning season, Mayfield only had one.
Every other year with the Browns, he’d only win six games each season.
He also has thrown more picks than Darnold.
Most INT thrown since 2018
Baker Mayfield 54
Sam Darnold 50
Jared Goff 49 pic.twitter.com/2MERlVVrQ7
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) December 31, 2021
However, he’s also thrown more touchdowns.
But that’s about where everything ends when you examine the stats.
On a per-game basis, Mayfield has a slightly better completions number (0.4) and touchdowns (0.4).
His attempts per game are slightly lower (0.4) as are his interceptions per game (0.1)
So he’s basically a slightly better repackage of Darnold.
When fans and Carolina see through the illusion of Mayfield’s stats, they realize he’s a bad quarterback.
His players around him in Cleveland were better than the Jets’ players around Darnold.
When you factor that in, Mayfield could ultimately be a slightly worse version of Darnold.
That’s the last thing Carolina needs in 2022.