at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 14, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.
After being traded to the Carolina Panthers, quarterback Baker Mayfield has a chance to reset his value moving forward.
This is the time for Baker Mayfield to reassert himself as a franchise quarterback.
After spending four turbulent seasons with the Cleveland Browns — who, themselves, are almost always turbulent — Mayfield was dealt last week for a 2024 fifth-round conditional pick to the Carolina Panthers. Cleveland retained $10.5 million of Mayfield’s salary.
In short, Mayfield is getting one opportunity to prove he can be the player many believed he was coming out of Oklahoma as a No. 1 overall pick in 2018. And, if he can do it, the former Sooner will be either a coveted asset on the free-agent market or a very rich man in Carolina — by either tag or long-term deal — come next winter.
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For Mayfield, the task is both simple and difficult. Play his best ball for 17 games, stay healthy and profit. To make it work, he needs to learn head coach Matt Rhule’s offensive system, jive with offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and get a chemistry with receivers D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson and running back Christian McCaffrey.
For his part, Mayfield spoke at an introductory presser on Tuesday afternoon and talked about his excitement in his new role, via NFL.com:
“I’m extremely excited for this new start in Charlotte. Obviously, I think it’s kind of known now, some familiar faces there, some people that I know and a lot more to meet. It’s just an exciting time for myself and my family and just this new chapter. No animosity towards Cleveland. It’s a good football town that gave me the first four years of my career and thankful for those trials and tribulations, all the challenges, a lot to learn from and look back on and reflect. Just really focused on right now and being a Carolina Panther and pumped up to do so.”
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To date, Mayfield’s best season was 2020. He played all 16 regular-season games, threw for 3,563 yards and 26 touchdowns against eight interceptions, and led Cleveland to its first playoff win since 1994 before narrowly losing in the Divisional round at Arrowhead Stadium to the Kansas City Chiefs.
If Mayfield can replicate those numbers on a 17-game scale, there will be interest in the 27-year-old as a viable, multi-year option moving forward.
And, for Mayfield, that would be seizing what might be his final chance as a possible franchise quarterback if things don’t go well.
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