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How will Carolina's quarterback depth chart play out?

Locked On Panthers host Julian Council talks about the QBs in Carolina's first preseason game and how the QB depth chart is likely to play out.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The old saying is if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one. But the Carolina Panthers have four quarterbacks right now in Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, rookie Matt Corral and PJ Walker.

Locked On Panthers podcast host Julian Council joined the daily Locked On Sports Today podcast on Monday to talk about where the Panthers are at in sorting out their QB depth chart.

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“Hopefully they’re in the final week of this quarterback competition," Council said. "But, Baker Mayfield didn’t come in here to be the backup quarterback to Sam Darnold. The Carolina Panthers were not in on the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, they did not inquire about Russell Wilson, they didn’t think about drafting a quarterback sixth overall, to start Sam Darnold for the 2022 season. It’s going to be Baker Mayfield’s job. For whatever reason, Matt Rhule has felt that he needs to have a competition to show the team they’re not going to just hand Mayfield the job.”

If Baker Mayfield is going to be the guy as Council expects, they still have Sam Darnold on the roster. And they traded up for Matt Corral in the NFL Draft. Plus, they still have P.J. Walker. Are they going to keep all of them?

“They have no choice but to keep all three of Mayfield, Darnold and Corral. P.J. Walker played the most snaps in Saturday’s preseason game and it made absolutely no sense because he’s obviously the odd man out. I understand that Rhule and Walker have a relationship that dates back to their time at Temple together. He started one game last year. But then they brought in Cam Newton. Walker is a solid backup, but he’s not going to be here.”

While Mayfield is a clear starter and Council expects the Panthers to keep Darnold and Corral, he said Corral’s limited exposure in training camp led to his poor performance in Saturday’s preseason game, where the rookie went 1-for-9 passing.

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“You traded up for Matt Corral, you’re not going to cut him. You want to develop him and give him an opportunity, potentially, depending on how Baker Mayfield plays this fall, to be the starting quarterback in 2023. But if you watched him this past weekend, Corral looked terrible. Sam Howell looked far better. But context, Howell has actually gotten reps during training camp while the Panthers are in the middle of a sham quarterback competition and Matt Corral has been getting scraps. He’s very far off and don’t expect him to be part of the quarterback equation this year.”

Meanwhile, the Panthers traded for Sam Darnold in April. But regardless of whether he’s on the roster or not, he costs Carolina $18.8 million this year before he becomes a free agent next offseason

“If they find someone to trade for him, the Panthers are going to do what they did last year with Teddy Bridgewater and what the Browns did to get rid of Baker Mayfield, (the Panthers) are going to have to pay a majority of his salary and give up draft compensation. You might as well just keep him around. He has shown in spurts he can help you win games. But over the course of a season, you can’t rely on him to be healthy or take care of the football or to elevate the overall roster.”

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