CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – The Carolina Panthers have two former first-round quarterback picks on their roster, and now at the NFL’s Week 4 mark, fans may have the opportunity to see the second one play already.


Regular-season starter winner Baker Mayfield is in the running as one of the top quarterbacks to be benched first out of all 32 teams this season based on his play thus far, according to a new study.

Bookies lists Mayfield at +500 odds to be benched first this year — good for second-highest odds in the NFL. He trails only Mitch Trubisky of the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose heir apparent, Kenny Pickett, was drafted in 2022 for the sole purpose of taking over the team.

“The last thing the Panthers want to do is bench Baker Mayfield, who they acquired in an offseason trade to move on from the previous year’s offseason trade of Sam Darnold,” the study said. “But Mayfield has the worst QBR (quarterback rating) of anyone through three weeks. The Panthers rank 30th in pass yards, and 67 of his 170 yards in Week 3 were on a short pass that was turned into a long jaunt” by wide receiver Laviska Shenault for a score.

Furthermore, Mayfield has also completed less than 50 percent of his passes this season, giving him an average of 183 yards per game and 550 total for the season.

To put that in perspective, the passing yards leader in the NFL, Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen, has 1,014 through three games for an average of 338.

Only Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback, Justin Fields, has less total yards (297) on the year among those who have started every game for his respective team.

Meanwhile, Darnold suffered a high-ankle sprain in the team’s final preseason game, but is only expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks. His timeframe to be removed from the injured reserve list is looming.

When Panthers’ head coach Matt Rhule named Mayfield the starter on Aug. 22 he said three things pointed to his decision.

“When we started this process, we were looking at three things,” Rhule said previously. “Number one, mastery of the offense, number two, situational football excellence, and number three, moving the ball and getting guys involved. That’s been our focus all along. Baker has made a lot of improvement, a lot of growth in all three areas in a short amount of time.”

Moving the ball, however, isn’t happening for Mayfield, and other standout offensive positional players aren’t getting their normal workloads either.

Following Trubisky and Mayfield on the list include:

  • Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints, +550
  • Justin Fields, Chicago Bears, +600
  • Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks, +700
  • Jacoby Brissett, Cleveland Browns, +1,000
  • Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans, +1,200