Panthers waive struggling QB Mayfield, a former No. 1 pick

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The short-lived Baker Mayfield era is over in Carolina.

The Panthers waived the struggling quarterback on Monday after the 2018 No. 1 draft pick asked for his release.

Mayfield would be subject to waivers and become a free agent if he goes unclaimed.

The move does not come as a surprise, because Sam Darnold replaced Mayfield after his failed second stint as starting quarterback, and the Panthers like what they have in backup P.J. Walker. The move gives Mayfield a chance to potentially land with a team that needs quarterback help.

San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson all suffered injuries over the weekend.

Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks said Mayfield asked for his release after the coach informed the quarterbacks that Darnold would be the team’s starter Sunday at Seattle and Walker would be the backup.

“Baker has been nothing but a professional since he’s been here, a complete pro,” Wilks said. “I have tremendous respect for him.”

Wilks said he made the decision to go with Walker over Mayfield as the backup after “looking at the body of work the last couple of weeks. I felt P.J. has been productive when he was in there.”

Wilks said he couldn’t pinpoint why Mayfield didn’t work out in Carolina.

“I can’t answer that question,” Wilks said. “It is so many different reasons. I wouldn’t say that he failed. I would say that it just didn’t work out. He is still a good football player. Just like coaches and just like players, sometimes they need a change.”

Mayfield was 1-5 as Carolina’s starting QB and completed just 57.8% of his passes, having six touchdowns and six interceptions. He also struggled with tipped passes at the line of scrimmage. The Panthers are last in the league in third-down conversions.

Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer traded for Mayfield earlier this season after unsuccessfully trying to acquire Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans, and he beat out Darnold for the starting job in training camp. Darnold later injured his ankle and landed on injured reserve and only recently returned to action.

Carolina will send the Cleveland Browns a fifth-round pick in 2024 as compensation.

Fitterer was not made available to reporters on Monday.

NOTES: Wilks said he expects running back D’Onta Foreman and defensive end Brian Burns to be ready to play Sunday against Seattle after suffering injuries before the bye week.

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