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Saturday open thread: Who will be the Panthers starting QB vs Lions in Week 16?

The Carolina Panthers traded for Baker Mayfield, hoping to create competition at the quarterback spot with Sam Darnold and rookie Matt Corral. But which one will be the quarterback when the Detroit Lions come to town in Week 16?

Cleveland Browns v New York Jets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns traded former first overall pick (2018) Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers this week for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, thus ending any speculation that the Detroit Lions might be interested in trading for him.

I never bought into the idea that the Lions would be interested in Mayfield, but the Panthers make a lot more sense, especially with Panthers coach Matt Rhule reportedly on the hot seat after back-to-back five-win seasons.

Rhule, the orchestrator behind Baylor University’s rise in offensive production, was expected to come in and turn the Panthers into an offensive juggernaut. But the reality is, Rhule put a bit too much stock in his ability to “fix” discarded first-round quarterbacks and passed over multiple opportunities to draft and develop a young signal-caller.

In 2020, Rhule went with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback (2014 pick No. 32 overall) and despite a career year and a three-year contract, Rhule wanted to upgrade in the offseason and traded him to the Denver Broncos.

In 2021, it was rinse and repeat for Rhule. After acquiring Sam Darnold (2018 pick No. 3 overall) from the New York Jets, the Panthers exercised his fifth-year option ahead of the season, anticipating a turnaround to his career that never came. Darnold returns to the Panthers in 2022 with a fully guaranteed $18.9 million contract and he may end up being the backup to Mayfield.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Knowing Darnold was not their long-term solution, but unable to land Mayfield pre-draft, the Panthers spent pick No. 94 in this year's draft to select Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral. Rounding out the group is PJ Walker, who suddenly finds himself as QB4 after being the primary backup last season.

And that brings us to our question of the day:

Who will be the Panthers starting QB vs Lions in Week 16?

My answer: Probably Matt Corral.

I know there are a lot of Mayfield fans out there who think he can be successful but we have seen this story from Rhule twice before—sometimes college gurus just aren’t able to translate their success to the pro level.

If the Panthers struggle once again, as I am projecting, I think Rhule will change his focus to the developmental quarterback in an effort to potentially save his job. Rhule just needs to convince owner David Tepper that he needs more time to develop the one quarterback they have under contract beyond this season, as Mayfield, Darnold, and Walker are all on expiring deals.

So what do you think, am I on point? Way off? Vote in the poll and sound off in the comments section:


Who will be the Panthers starting QB vs Lions in Week 16?

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    Baker Mayfield
    (239 votes)
  • 6%
    Sam Darnold
    (27 votes)
  • 25%
    Matt Corral
    (98 votes)
  • 6%
    PJ Walker
    (24 votes)
388 votes total Vote Now

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