The Panthers were close to trading Baker Mayfield, who would have walked in as the team’s opening day starter. The deal fell through after neither side wanted to pay the majority of quarterback’s $18.8 million contract for 2022.
The Panthers instead drafted Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral in the third round, leaving him with an even “bigger” chip on his shoulder.
As it stands now, Sam Darnold has the inside track to keeping his starting job.
But Corral isn’t conceding he will open the season as the backup.
“If I know the playbook, I’m going to be ready to play,” Corral said when asked about that role, via Darin Gantt of the team website. “As far as getting ready to be a starter, of course, my mentality is to be a starter. But right now, I’m trying to get on that 53-man roster.”
Panthers coach Matt Rhule said Friday he “wouldn’t say no” to a veteran addition at the position and affirmed Darnold is the starter for now. But Rhule also didn’t rule out Corral competing for the job this season with expectations the rookie will win the job at some point in the future.
“When we watched the tape, we loved the way that Matt played,” Rhule said. “At the end of the day, when we went back, we loved the way he played. His release, his moxie. He’s gotten injured a little bit because he runs guys over or tries to run guys over. But at the end of the day, it’s still a game of who has the ability to throw the ball. And we just love the way he throws the ball. His release, his vision, his timing — we thought it would translate over to this level.”