Entering the NFL offseason, one of the biggest questions was who would be taking snaps for the Carolina Panthers in 2022. Now that the first wave of NFL Free Agency has passed and the 2022 NFL Draft is in the books, we still have the same question about the Panthers. Apparently, the Carolina Panthers have not closed the door on a Jimmy Garoppolo or Baker Mayfield trade.
In fact, reports are they are interested in trading for either veteran player.
Of course, this timing is a bit interesting. The Panthers drafted Matt Corral. They have had him in the building for rookie minicamp. Now, more offseason programs are beginning, and it is fair to say they haven’t seen enough out of Corral in this short period of time to say he is the starter for his rookie year.
Instead, it seems the Carolina Panthers are willing to try out yet another veteran at the quarterback position this season, after experiments with Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold and Cam Newton have recently failed.
Panthers Interested in Jimmy Garoppolo Trade
Steve Reed of the Associated Press reports that the Carolina Panthers are still interested in either a Baker Mayfield or a Jimmy Garoppolo trade.
In the case of a Jimmy Garoppolo trade, the Panthers are requesting the San Francisco 49ers cover some of his contract. Garoppolo is in the final year of his contract and is due $24.2 million in base salary this season, along with other bonuses. The 49ers quarterback is coming off surgery this offseason. This may limit him this summer, which could make trading for him a risk.
On the 49ers’ side, they gave up a lot to draft Trey Lance, who looks to be gaining the trust of everyone around him. He is likely to be the quarterback for the 49ers this season. However, after sitting out at NDSU and sitting the majority of his rookie season, going from zero to 100 does bring injury risk. Having the backup plan of Garoppolo on a team that has Super Bowl aspirations does appear to be a good plan.
However, with Jimmy G on his way out following this season, do the 49ers look to get something for him before the season begins? That’s what the Panthers are hoping for.
Panthers Interested in Baker Mayfield Trade
Much like Garoppolo, a Baker Mayfield trade has several factors to consider. First, Mayfield is also coming off an offseason of surgery, which could limit him this summer. He is also in the final year of his contract, with him due $18.8 million. The Panthers are again asking the Browns to cover some of this contract.
The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reports both the Panthers and Seahawks are interested in a Baker Mayfield trade. However, both teams want the Browns to eat some of his contract.
We are expected to get a bit more clarity about the Deshaun Watson situation soon, for at least the 2022 season. Obviously, if he gets suspended, the Browns would love to have Baker Mayfield still around to play. But, would he be willing to put his ego aside and do it? Yes, Mayfield feels insulted, but his 2021 performance doesn’t have many teams wanting to trade for him. If an opportunity presents itself for him to start for the Browns in any capacity, it’s possible he would see the opportunity as a chance to showcase his abilities.
So, much like the 49ers, the Browns don’t have many reasons to pull the trigger on a Baker Mayfield trade right now. It’s possible there is movement around the time of training camp, when Mayfield likely causes some drama.
Carolina Panthers Quarterback Situation
As stated above, the timing of these two news reports is interesting. It comes after the Panthers have gotten to see Matt Corral up close and personal a bit more. But, what does the rest of the Carolina Panthers quarterback room look like?
It appears Sam Darnold is still the starter. Darnold is really what complicates things. He, like Mayfield, had the fifth year of his rookie contract this year, so he is due $18.8 million. As a result, the Panthers are almost definitely stuck with him. So, that is why they want the 49ers or Browns to help them out with money.
If the Panthers do trade for one of these veterans, they would be paying Darnold almost $20 million to be the backup. Still, Matt Corral’s contract is really cheap. The Panthers also have the second-most cap space in the NFL. So, they likely could take on the contract of Jimmy Garoppolo or Baker Mayfield. Simply, they don’t want to, which is understandable.