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Panthers Make Decision on Their Week 1 Starting Quarterback

Baker Mayfield will serve as the Carolina Panthers' starting quarterback during Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season, head coach Matt Rhule announced in a news release shared on the team's official website Monday.

"When we started this process, we were looking at three things," Rhule said. "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."

Mayfield -- the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft -- was competing with Sam Darnold -- the No. 3 overall pick in the same draft class -- for the starting job since being acquired by the Panthers in a trade with the Cleveland Browns in July.

The former Heisman Trophy winner will face his former team when the Panthers host the Browns in Week 1 at Bank of America Stadium on September 11.

Mayfield has a 29-30 QB record as a starter, which includes a 6-8 record in 2021 during three seasons in Cleveland.

The former Heisman Trophy winner threw for a career-low 3,010 yards and 17 touchdowns, as well as 13 interceptions last season.

Mayfield requested a trade away from Cleveland after reports that the Browns were trying to and eventually acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans.

Cleveland was initially reported to be out of consideration for Watson and denied Mayfield's request publicly before eventually reaching an agreement with Houston to acquire Watson days later.

Watson is currently facing an 11-game suspension violating the NFL's personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct in civil lawsuits filed by 25 women all of which is reported to have taken place during massage sessions in the Houston area between March 2020 and March 2021 during his tenure with the Texans.

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