Initially, I hated the idea of trading for Baker Mayfield. Two weeks ago, I wrote an article detailing why the Panthers should avoid doing so, but this trade is okay. Props to Scott Fitterer because the Panthers fleeced the Browns which is why I’m not mad. For the upside Baker has, this is a highway robbery. When you’re a team looking for a QB, you should not hesitate to throw as many darts as possible to find the answer. Blaming the Panthers for doing just that would not be right, but I do have concerns.
Schematically, Baker doesn’t fit the scheme expected from Ben McAdoo at all. Previous McAdoo offenses have focused on a quick-read passing game out of the shotgun that asks his QBs to make quick 3-step drops to get the ball out fast. This is not what Baker does. He’s a gunslinger in both a positive light and a negative one. He has a tendency to hold onto the ball for too long and can be fooled by defenses.
On a positive note, he brings a top 10 arm in the NFL to the Carolina Panthers. Few quarterbacks are as deadly throwing deep as Baker Mayfield. From 2018-2020, Baker finished top 10 in deep accuracy every year before an injury-plagued 2021. The issue is that the Panthers are not a big play-action, deep passing team. What Ben McAdoo wants to do is exactly what Baker is not good at and what Baker is good at, McAdoo doesn’t like to do which is why I didn’t want this trade to happen. Baker is not a bad player. He’s actually pretty good on his best day, but on this team, I don’t know if we’ll see that.
This is a good trade as the Panthers hardly gave anything up capital-wise to make it happen. It’s a move that does ultimately make the Panthers better and potentially significantly better. At the end of the day though, the only way this works to me is if Baker takes Carolina to the playoffs. This is possible. If the Panthers stay healthy and a well-designed offense that accommodates Baker’s strengths is implemented, a playoff berth is definitely achievable.
However, if this season goes south and Baker plays poorly, the downside is the Panthers will have a mid-first round pick next offseason, still need a QB, and aren’t sure what they have in Matt Corral with a new head coach on the scene. Unfortunately, with all the question marks surrounding Carolina and Baker, this is the scenario I see being more likely. This move significantly raises Carolina’s ceiling but also massively lowers the team’s floor as well.
What do you think of the Baker Mayfield trade?