The Carolina Panthers are giving their top two quarterbacks enough time to win the starting job.
Head coach Matt Rhule told reporters after the Panthers’ scrimmage Saturday that a decision won’t be made between Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield until at least two preseason games have been played.
“I’m not going to put a timetable until we get back from the quarterback position [New England] Patriots Week,” Rule said, via ESPN.
“Patriots Week is a real litmus test for us. It really shows us where guys are at.”
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The Panthers play New England on August 19.
Mayfield started the scrimmage with the first team, while each QB took equal reps with the first and second teams. Mayfield went 14-21 with a touchdown and an interception, while Darnold completed 20 of 28 passes with a score and a pick.
Ruhl told the team off Sunday that the coaches will “really dig into the tape and see who’s really mastering the offense and who’s not.”
The Browns have agreed to trade Baker Mayfield to the Panthers
The Panthers traded with the New York Jets last year for Darnold, giving him a long way to go. Carolina gave up a 2021 sixth-round pick, a 2022 second-rounder and a 2022 fourth-rounder last April.
Darnold beat his former team in Week 1 of last season and is off to a 3-1 start, throwing for nearly 1,200 yards and five touchdowns. However, in his last eight, he’s thrown just four TDs and been picked off 10 times, racking up just 1,338 passing yards.
As for Mayfield, the Panthers acquired him this offseason after the Cleveland Browns traded for Deshaun Watson. Last season, Mayfield failed to pass for 20 touchdowns for the first time and he just cracked 3,000 yards. His 3,010 passing yards are a career low. The Panthers gave up a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick for Mayfield.
The Panthers have surrendered four draft picks for two QBs in two offseasons, and they don’t know which one will start.
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Mayfield was the first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, and Darnold was drafted two picks later.