SPARTANBURG, S.C. — The Carolina Panthers turned the warmth up on Sam Darnold earlier this month after they traded for Baker Mayfield to compete for the beginning quarterback job, however so far as Darnold is anxious the 2 are “cool” with battling it out.
“When issues begin rolling in coaching camp it is simply going to be enjoyable to have the ability to compete and have enjoyable with it,” Darnold stated on Tuesday because the Panthers reported to camp at Wofford School. “On the finish of the day this can be a enterprise and we each take our craft and what we do very critically.
“So it may be severe when that point involves compete, however off the sector and all of that stuff, me and Baker are actually cool.”
This was the primary time Darnold has spoken to the media for the reason that Panthers traded a conditional 2024 draft choose to the Cleveland for Mayfield, who turned expendable after the Cleveland Browns traded with the Houston Texans for Deshaun Watson.
That reunited the 2018 draft’s high choose (Mayfield) with the third-overall choose (Darnold).
Each have been fulltime starters since coming into the league, Mayfield with Cleveland and Darnold with the New York Jets and Panthers. They nonetheless contemplate themselves starters though the Panthers have declared an “open” competitors for the job.
“We’re each in our eyes the beginning quarterback for this workforce proper now,” Darnold stated. “And that is how we’re each gonna view it. So it is nearly going on the market and competing, and that will likely be enjoyable.”
Coach Matt Rhule stated the competitors will likely be good for a Carolina workforce that has gone by 4 completely different beginning quarterbacks the previous two seasons.
“That is probably not my job attempt to perceive or consider why [the trade was made],” he stated. “For me it is about competing. On the finish of the day, all of us need to win as Panthers. We’re all on the identical workforce. They usually’re gonna do no matter they really feel prefer it’s greatest for the workforce to win ballgames this 12 months.
“If that is bringing in Baker and me competing with him and us competing with one another to battle it out for the beginning job, that is the very best factor for the workforce.”
Darnold really was among the many first to achieve out to Mayfield after the commerce. He requested him to take part in a pre-camp exercise with working again Christian McCaffrey and different Carolina gamers within the Charlotte space.
That occurred this previous weekend, and included dinners and workforce bonding periods at McCaffrey’s Lake Norman house.
“I do not assume anybody right here likes feeling awkward or being in a clumsy state of affairs,” Darnold stated. “There will likely be loads of time for that when coaching camp begins going and we begin really competing.
“Once I heard the information, you understand, I took a few days to decompress and sort of simply soak up all the data that I may. I talked to educate about it after which I reached out to Baker and advised him in regards to the little throwing session that we had.”
Darnold stated the interplay with Mayfield has been “very cordial” thus far.
McCaffrey likes the dynamic between the 2 quarterbacks.
“These guys are professionals,” he stated. “They’re nice gamers who’ve seen loads on this league. They’re each hungry. They each have large chips on their shoulders. They will compete with respect.”
Darnold was Four-7 final season at Carolina and is 17-32 total as an NFL starter. Mayfield was 6-Eight final season at Cleveland and is 29-30 total.
Each are within the fifth and closing 12 months of their rookie offers, so that they’re enjoying for his or her futures.
“Anytime you carry somebody of Baker’s aggressive degree the best way he competes on the market on Sundays, and never solely on Sundays but additionally on the follow discipline, it could possibly solely assist the room,” Darnold stated. “And it could possibly solely assist our workforce.”