Panthers receiver Robbie Anderson created the impression in April that he didn’t want Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield on the team. Anderson has since tried to put the toothpaste back in the tube by making the point that he was simply trying to stick up for quarterback Sam Darnold.
Anderson, who has played with Darnold both with the Panthers and the Jets, recently explained on I Am Athlete that he believes Darnold’s career was derailed by his early years in New York.
“I feel like his development was all messed up coming into the league,” Anderson said, via Jason Owens of Yahoo Sports. “Look at Pat [Mahomes] and look at Lamar [Jackson]. They didn’t play right away. I don’t think that Sam should have played right away.
“I feel like his career got jumpstarted the wrong way. I feel like — being in the building, the coaches — I was there. In his defense, I don’t think he was developed 100 percent correctly.”
That’s entirely possible. But Darnold got a fresh start in Carolina, and it ultimately didn’t work out well enough to keep the Panthers, whose owner is obsessed with getting a franchise quarterback, from trading for Mayfield.
Darnold still has a chance to win the starting job. Although a tie or anything close to it will likely go to the newcomer, Darnold has the chance to show the coaching staff enough not to play Mayfield.
Then again, if Darnold had shown them enough last season or during the 2022 offseason program, they wouldn’t have traded for Mayfield.