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Carolina Panthers release Baker Mayfield

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) — The short-lived Baker Mayfield era in the Carolinas is over.

The struggling quarterback was waived by the Panthers on Monday after the 2018 No. 1 draft called for his release.

Mayfield will be subject to waivers and become a free agent if unclaimed.

The move didn’t come as a surprise, as Sam Darnold replaced Mayfield after his botched second stint as a starting quarterback, and the Panthers impressed with what they had in B.J. Walker. The move gives Mayfield a potential touchdown opportunity with a team in need of quarterback help.

San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson were injured over the weekend.

Panthers interim coach Steve Wilkes said Mayfield requested his release after the coach told the quarterback that Darnold would be the team’s starter on Sunday in Seattle and Walker would be the backup.

“Baker has only been a professional since he’s been here, and he’s a complete professional,” said Wilkes. “I have a lot of respect for him.”

Wilkes said he made the decision to go with Walker rather than Mayfield as a replacement after “reviewing all the work over the last two weeks. I felt like PJ was productive when he was there.”

Wilkes said he couldn’t say why Mayfield wasn’t successful at Carolina.

Wilkes said: “I can’t answer that question. There are many different reasons. I wouldn’t say it failed. I would say it didn’t work. He’s still a good footballer. Like coaches and players, sometimes they need to change.”

Mayfield was 1-5 when Carolina’s starting QB completed just 57.8% of his passes, after six touchdowns and six interceptions. He also struggled with curved passes at the line of scrimmage. The Panthers are last in the league in third-place conversions.

Panthers general manager Scott Vetterer traded Mayfield earlier this season after unsuccessfully attempting to acquire Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans, and beat Darnold to start training camp. Darnold then injured his ankle and fell on injured reserve, not returning to action until recently.

Carolina will send the Cleveland Browns a fifth round pick in 2024 as compensation.

Veterer was not available to reporters on Monday.

Notes: Wilkes said he expects running back D’Onta Foreman and defensive end Brian Burns to be ready to play Sunday against Seattle after suffering injuries prior to the bye week.

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