Thursday, June 1, 2023

Panthers QB situation: Matt Rhule says Sam Darnold is starter now but doesn’t rule out ‘significant’ upgrade

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The Carolina Panthers are once again rumored to be interested in Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, but just how interested they are is still a mystery. Panthers head coach Matt Rhule spoke about what their quarterback plans are as things stand right now, leaving a lot up for interpretation.

Rhule said, “If we played today, Sam would be our quarterback.”

He added that if they can add a “significant” upgrade the team should, but they can also focus on the players here whom he believes can improve and rise to the occasion.

On one hand, this makes it seem like the Panthers are accepting Darnold as their guy and Mayfield will have to either stay in Cleveland or find another team. On the other hand, it’s important to note the team is not playing today and a lot can change between now and the start of the NFL season.

Rhule also did not rule out adding someone else to the quarterback room.

Mayfield helped bring his team to the playoffs and defeat favorite and division rival Pittsburgh Steelers, he was part of an improvement of historically one of the worst franchises in the league and he stayed longer than most QBs stay in Cleveland. While he does have some things going for him, he is far from an elite quarterback in the NFL right now and is not someone who guarantees wins like many other quarterbacks with more experience and success.

Mayfield could end up staying with the Browns, who signed Deshaun Watson this offseason to a five-year, $230 million deal. Watson is facing 24 allegations of sexual misconduct with more reportedly on the way and could be facing a lengthy suspension.

If Mayfield does stay with the Browns and Watson is suspended, No. 6 could suit up to start for the team. Mayfield’s situation is currently unknown, but it is clearly not a guarantee that he will be at Bank of America Stadium next season.

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