Baker Mayfield Reacts to New Role as Carolina Panthers Backup QB

by Dustin Schutte
Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

No NFL starting quarterback wants to get benched. It’s especially hard for players who were previously No. 1 overall picks in the draft. But Baker Mayfield seems to be handling his new role with the Carolina Panthers as well as you might expect.

P.J. Walker stepped in for Mayfield when he went down with injury earlier this season. Now, interim head coach Steve Wilks plans to stick with Walker, though Mayfield is healthy enough for a return.

Some quarterbacks might throw a temper tantrum in this circumstance. Mayfield, however, handled it like a true professional.

“You want to be able to showcase on Sundays what you’re capable of, but that’s not my role,” Mayfield told reporters. “So, right now, it’s supporting this group and competing within the quarterback competitions we have each day in practice. And then try to get the defense prepared for Sundays.

“It takes everybody. That’s why this is the ultimate team sport. It’s a different role for me, for sure, but I’m just finding my way through it.”

Mayfield has played in five games this season throwing for 962 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s in his first year with the Panthers after getting traded from the Cleveland Browns.

Baker Mayfield, Carolina Panthers Going Through Changes

Moving Baker Mayfield into a backup role is just one of the many changes the Carolina Panthers are going through right now. The team has gone into complete rebuilding mode after trading away some key pieces.

Before the trade deadline, the Panthers traded top receiver Robbie Anderson to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a 2024 sixth-round pick and 2025 seventh-round selection. A few days later, Carolina sent Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers.

The Panthers received more draft picks for McCaffrey: a second, third and fourth-round picks in 2023 and a fifth-round pick in 2024.

Carolina currently owns a 2-6 record on the season. It travels to Cincinnati to play the Bengals at 12 p.m. CT on FOX.