Baker Mayfield wants to stay in Carolina despite demotion to backup role

The Carolina Panthers traded for Baker Mayfield in the summer and quickly named him their starter.

Less than eight weeks into the season, he’s now the backup to PJ Walker, who entered training camp as a fourth stringer.

Everything has gone south in Carolina. The franchise fired head coach Matt Rhule, Robbie Anderson was traded after a sideline argument with interim head coach Steve Wilks and running back Christian McCaffrey was traded. 

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Baker Mayfield of the Carolina Panthers warms up prior to a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium Oct. 23, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. 
(Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Despite a 2-5 record and being demoted to a backup role, Mayfield doesn’t want to go anywhere.

“I’ve spent enough times with these guys,” Mayfield said when asked about requesting a trade ahead of Tuesday’s deadline. “I want to be here.”

Mayfield understands his role for this Sunday isn’t the same. It will be his first time not starting when active since his rookie season in 2018. The 27-year-old missed the last two games with an ankle sprain, but the Panthers are still riding with Walker. 

PANTHERS’ QUARTERBACK SITUATION GETS COMPLICATED AFTER PJ WALKER LEADS CAROLINA TO VICTORY

“You just have to roll with the punches,” he said. “It’s not my plan, obviously. I’m a competitor, but I’m rolling with the punches to help this team out in any way I can.

“I came here to win. If it’s my role to help PJ out from the sideline and help this defense out with scout team stuff, I’m gonna do it. And I’m gonna do it with everything I can.”

PJ Walker of the Carolina Panthers looks to pass in the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium Oct. 23, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. 

PJ Walker of the Carolina Panthers looks to pass in the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium Oct. 23, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. 
(Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Mayfield can’t be happy he’s lost his job. But if there is anyone to lose it to, it seems he takes solace that it’s Walker, a former XFL standout.

“I don’t think he’s ever had that mindset he was fourth on the depth chart,” Mayfield said. “PJ’s a great leader. He’s a great quarterback. He’s a guy that’s continuously stepped up in this place. He’s obviously been a few other spots, but he didn’t hesitate. He went in there and just did his thing. I have a tremendous amount of respect for PJ as a player, but moreso as a man.”

Carolina quarterbacks Baker Mayfield (6) and PJ Walker (11) during Carolina Panthers training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., July 29, 2022. 

Carolina quarterbacks Baker Mayfield (6) and PJ Walker (11) during Carolina Panthers training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., July 29, 2022. 
(John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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The Panthers will head to Atlanta Sunday to face NFC South rival Atlanta.

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