When the Panthers traded for Baker Mayfield, the general assumption was that the 2018 No. 1 overall pick would be behind center for the Week One game against his former team.
But Carolina is going to make Mayfield earn the title of QB1.
“The reason why we added Baker was to make the group better as a whole,” Fitterer said. “Our whole philosophy is to add competition not just in the quarterback room but every position. So if we see an opportunity to get better, where we can add a player that makes sense for us as a team, makes sense for us financially, makes sense for us just from an addition standpoint, we’re going to do that. And with Baker being out there, having the conversations, it made sense for us.”
Fitterer added that he thinks the competition will also make Darnold better.
“Sam really had a nice spring for us, stepped up, showed a lot of edge, threw the ball really well,” Fitterer said. “And I think competition would be good for him, would be good for P.J., it’s good for Matt Corral — the young guy that’s going to be in the room learning. And it’s good for Baker. It’s a fresh start for him.
“So I think overall, it’s a very healthy situation for us all to be in.”
The Panthers finished last season 5-12. Though the club was second in yards allowed defensively, it was 21st in points surrendered. That’s in part because of poor quarterback play, as Carolina led the league with 32 interceptions and was 31st with just 14 touchdown passes.
Improved execution behind center could make the Panthers a contender for a playoff spot in the NFC.