In what should come as no huge surprise, but still a welcome formality, Baker Mayfield has been named the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers for Week 1 of the 2022-23 NFL season.

Mayfield was acquired from the Cleveland Browns in July, with the 2018 NFL Draft first overall pick being disgruntled after the Browns landed Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans. To make things even spicier, Carolina hosts Cleveland in Week 1.

Mayfield beat out last year’s incumbent starter, Sam Darnold, with superior play in both practice and preseason games. Darnold, drafted third overall by the New York Jets in same draft, started 11 games for the Panthers last season, posting a 4-7 record as a starter and missing six games due to injury.

The Panthers didn’t want to hand Mayfield the starting gig the day they traded for him, but this decision seemed inevitable. The Browns became one of the most dangerous teams in the AFC when Mayfield led a healthy offense, while Darnold has a career record of 17-32, a nearly 1:1 touchdown to interception ratio (54 TD, 52 INT) and a career completion rate of 59.8%.

Carolina will look to improve on their 5-12 record from last season, and with Christian McCaffrey returning to the field and an upgrade at the quarterback position, it certainly feels possible the Panthers will take a leap forward in 2022.

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