Buccaneers: 3 Things Panthers Failed to get right with Baker Mayfield

The Carolina Panthers may be feeling a bit sheepish right now, especially after that July 2022 trade they pulled involving Baker Mayfield.

The 28-year-old quarterback failed to blend in with the Panthers, resulting in his trade to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The deal was understandable at that time.

Mayfield struggled, going 1-5 as a starter and this led to his release in December. The Los Angeles Rams were the only team that showed interest. Critics felt that the former Heisman Trophy winner’s NFL days could be numbers.

Baker Mayfield of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. [photo credit: Baker Mayfield Instagram]
Baker Mayfield of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. [photo credit: Baker Mayfield Instagram]

But Mayfield proved his doubters wrong this 2023-24 season, guiding the Bucs to the NFC South Division title with a 9-8 record. However, the big story is the former top pick’s huge game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, January 15.

Mayfield completed 22 of 36 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns to guide Tampa Bay to a 32-9 wild-card victory over the Eagles, setting up a divisional-round clash with the Detroit Lions on Sunday, January 21.

Why Baker Mayfield floundered with Panthers

Given the success of Mayfield with the Buccaneers, the huge question right now is why his Carolina Panthers stint went haywire.

A former teammate who requested anonymity gave his take, pointing out how the Panthers failed to play to Mayfield’s strengths, Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer reported.

“I always felt like his best year (with the Cleveland Browns), there was a lot of rollout and getting Baker on the move. Shifts. Motions. Movement. I always felt like we were fairly stagnant (during Mayfield’s time running the offense), and Baker stayed in the pocket,” the unnamed player shared.

Mayfield thriving with future Hall of Famer

Although the former Oklahoma Sooner is having quite a ride, a radio analyst, Jake Delhomme, suggested that Mayfield is having success playing alongside future NFL Hall of Famer Mike Evans.

But overall, it is the different level of confidence that Mayfield has right now with the Bucs. No less than head coach Todd Bowles marvels at what the 2017 Sugar Bowl MVP is showing right now, saying that it’s “great seeing Baker be Baker.”

However, Tampa Bay may have its work cut out when they next face Detroit. The Buccaneers are 6.5 point spread underdogs against the Lions on Sunday.

The Moneyline set for this encounter is -275 for Detroit and +220 for Tampa Bay with the over/under at 48.5 per BetMGM NFL odds via USA Today.