Last night, I argued that any team thinking about drafting a quarterback should instead trade for Baker Mayfield. Given the developments of the first round, I’ve got a more specific suggestion to make.
The Panthers should go get Mayfield, before other teams join the hunt.
With no second- or third-round picks, thanks to the ill-fated Sam Darnold trade, the Panthers aren’t in position to pick a quarterback tonight, unless they trade back into the round. Other teams that may want a quarterback are, and they’re likely to let it play out before exploring other options.
So once a team like the Falcons or Saints or Seahawks or Lions (still trying) emerge from tonight without a quarterback, the Panthers may have some competition for his contract.
That’s why it needs to be done now. Even if Carolina has to pay the full amount of his salary, what’s $18.8 million for a starting quarterback? They’re already paying that to Darnold, and they don’t want him to be the starter. Put them together and it’s $37.6 million in cash and cap space for the quarterback position in 2022.
Again, Mayfield is proven. The rookies aren’t. And the rookies remaining after the conclusion of the first round are even less proven (or at least have lower potential) than usual.
So get cracking, Carolina. He who hesitates may lose the chance to snag the best available veteran quarterback option.