Former Cleveland Browns Quarterback Baker Mayfield Takes Strong Stance on Deshaun Watson’s Suspension

by Bryan Fyalkowski

At Carolina Panthers training camp, a reporter asked Baker Mayfield what he thought about Deshaun Watson’s six-game suspension. The former Cleveland Browns No. 1 overall pick took a strong stance on the matter.

“Honestly, it’s none of my business,” Mayfield said, via ESPN. “I know it’s the most cliché thing to say, but that’s just the truth … I’m paid to play quarterback and lead this team, not to make decisions on anything other than that.”

The Panthers acquired Mayfield from the Browns on July 6 for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Since then, the 27-year-old has not commented much on his former team, and is primarily focused on his new franchise. He is currently in a quarterback competition with Sam Darnold and rookie Matt Corral for the starting job.

Carolina head coach Matt Rhule was also asked to weigh in on Watson’s suspension, but offered even less than Mayfield. The Panthers were one of the many NFL teams that tried to acquire the quarterback from Houston this offseason.

“I hope you understand, I’m not going to comment on somebody else’s team,” Rhule said. “Everything we did was first class from the top on down, everything that we’ve done. I’m focused on the guys we have here right now.”

Baker Mayfield in Crowded Carolina Quarterback Competition

In 2021, the Panthers finished last in the NFC South with a 5-12 record. They brought in Baker Mayfield to join the quarterback room with Darnold and Corral.

A few weeks ago, the incoming quarterback was asked about being on the same team as Darnold, who was taken No. 3 overall following Mayfield and Saquon Barkley in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Panthers acquired Darnold from the New York Jets in a trade last year.

“I think when you’re in the NFL, nobody has the mentality of being a backup,” Mayfield explained at the time. “We’re at this level because we compete to be the very best and that’s why Sam’s here as well … My intention is to become the best quarterback I can be and help this team win. That’s why I’m happy to be in Carolina.”

During training camp, Mayfield has kept that same mindset.

“If I’m playing or not, I’m trying to help this team win,” he said. “That’s my mindset going into it. I’m not focused on Week 1 right now. I’m working on each day’s install and trying to get better.”