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Panthers release QB Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield's tenure with the Panthers was marred by poor play and the firing of Matt Rhule.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Baker Mayfield era is officially over. The Carolina Panthers released the former No. 1 overall draft pick Monday, less than six months after acquiring him in a trade. 

News of Mayfield's impending release was first reported by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport. Mayfield joined the team in July through a trade with the Cleveland Browns before training camp. The Browns will get a fifth-round pick from Carolina since Mayfield played less than 70% of offensive snaps this season, which would've made the draft pick a fourth-round selection. 

Mayfield completed 57% of his passes with 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions with the Panthers. Mayfield's struggles, combined with another losing record, led to the firing of head coach Matt Rhule. Mayfield has only started one game since suffering an ankle injury against the San Francisco 49ers. Rhule was fired the next day.

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Interim coach Steve Wilks has called on PJ Walker and Sam Darnold in recent weeks, with Darnold leading Carolina to a 23-10 win over the Broncos before the team's open date. He will also start this week's game against Seattle. 

At 4-8, the Panthers remain 1 1/2 games out of first place in the NFC South, pending the results of Monday's game between Tampa Bay and New Orleans. Should the Saints win, Carolina will find itself just one game out of first place with wins over Tampa Bay and New Orleans under their belt. Carolina plays both teams again to close the regular season in January. 

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