CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s no secret the Carolina Panthers have struggled with quarterback consistency in recent years, having circled through Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, Will Grier, Teddy Bridgewater, P.J. Walker and Sam Darnold all since 2018 and the departure of Cam Newton.
There’s also no hiding Carolina tried acquiring Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield during the 2022 offseason after the Browns gave up three first-round picks, as well as two later-round picks and signed him to a more than a $200 million deal.
It took Mayfield less than one day to voice his displeasures and call his relationship with the Browns organization severed.
However, Watson is likely facing some kind of impending suspension from the NFL for sexual misconduct.
Twenty-four suits have come out, all filed by women accusing Watson of sexual misconduct ranging from inappropriate sexual conduct to forced oral sex.
At this time, 20 of those 24 have been settled, but Watson faces a disciplinary hearing multiple days this week. Depending on the outcome, the NFL could choose any form of suspension, from short to long-term.
Regardless, Watson signed a fully-guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract whether he plays or not.
One would think any form of suspension would lead the Browns to play their former No. 1 overall pick, Mayfield. But that likely won’t be the case.
Mayfield has already taken to social media to say goodbye to teammates and reiterated on Tuesday that moving on is a mutual decision.
He also said returning to Cleveland and playing in a Watson-suspension era would take “some reaching out” by the Browns.
So how does Carolina play into all this?
The Panthers were rumored to be heavily involved in a Mayfield trade before April’s NFL Draft, and even in the early rounds. However, when a deal wasn’t reached, Carolina traded up into the third round and drafted former Ole Miss signal-caller Matt Corral with the No. 96 pick.
Corral was the best option left in the draft with Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ritter and Malik Willis off the board.
Now, the Panthers have Sam Darnold, who they traded for in April 2021, Corrall, and penciled-in third-stringer P.J. Walker, who did decently well in place of Darnold when he was injured last season.
Mayfield is due to make just under $19 million in the 2022-23 season, and would likely need a trade to get to another team.
With the drafting of Corrall, and the former trade of Darnold, and the insurance of Walker in the shadows — the shelling out for Mayfield WITH having to give up even more than they have for the quarterback room.