Panthers head coach Matt Rhule has spent much of the offseason praising quarterback Sam Darnold, but the decision to trade for Baker Mayfield makes clear that Darnold will have to beat out Mayfield to win the starting job. That could create some tension in the quarterback room, but Mayfield insists it won’t.
“Sam reached out, got my number first,” Mayfield said, via Darin Gantt of Panthers.com. “We’ve been talking about how to get the guys together the last minute before camp. It’s been great. Sam just wants to win. That’s just who he is. Our personalities might be different, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the same goal, and that’s to win and help this team out. I’m really looking forward to being in that room with him and just challenging each other, and elevating each other.”
Mayfield sees some similarities between his trade from the Brown to the Panthers and his college decision to transfer from Texas Tech to Oklahoma.
“Obviously, the NFL is different than college, but walking on twice, and having to go through that process, you level the playing field,” Mayfield said. “You compete against other guys, and you build confidence in yourself. It’s very similar to when I left Texas Tech to go to Oklahoma. They had one of my best friends, Trevor Knight, who had just won the Sugar Bowl, was the MVP, he was going to be a sophomore. I decided to transfer there, knowing there was going to be competition, and it wasn’t going to be easy. It’s about betting on yourself and believing in that, and giving it your all. And just trying to be a good teammate and help everybody win.”
That’s what the Panthers hope they get from their newly expanded quarterback room.