When the the Carolina Panthers agreed in July to send a conditional 2024 draft pick to the Cleveland Browns for quarterback Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, they were hoping to resurrect his career.
The renaissance didn't happen, and it wasn't even close.
Mayfield went 1-5 as the starter and was on target for career lows in every major statistical category, including a 16.8 Total QBR that ranked last in the league. That led to his release on Monday, with the Panthers (4-8) set to go with Sam Darnold and PJ Walker as their top quarterbacks for the rest of the season.
Mayfield asked to be waived, but he likely would have been released soon anyway. The timing could be good with the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens possibly in the market for a veteran quarterback after Sunday, as the 49ers lost Jimmy Garoppolo (broken left foot) for the rest of the season and the Ravens could be without Lamar Jackson (left knee) for a while.
In terms of the Panthers, all his release did was guarantee the conditional pick from Cleveland will be a fifth-rounder instead of a fourth-rounder, since Mayfield didn't play 70% of the snaps this season.
It also guaranteed they are still searching for their franchise quarterback.
Why didn't it work out for Mayfield in Carolina?
He didn't win. It's that simple.
You could argue the Panthers didn't play to Mayfield's strengths like the Browns did in 2011 when they committed to the running game to take pressure off the quarterback. That type of a commitment didn't come until after interim coach Steve Wilks replaced head coach Matt Rhule, who was fired after a 1-4 start with Mayfield.
But even with a commitment to the run in Mayfield's only start under Wilks, the quarterback didn't respond. He was 21-of-33 for 196 yards and two interceptions in a 13-3 loss at Baltimore. That sealed his fate, if it wasn't sealed before then. Management likely knew at that point Mayfield wouldn't be a part of their long-term plans. Darnold still has a chance to be, so they cut bait and moved on from Mayfield.