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Baker Mayfield Was Trending After Panthers Quarterback Decision

Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield during a preseason game against the Patriots.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 19: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Carolina Panthers looks on before the preseason game between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium on August 19, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Carolina Panthers are making another quarterback change.

On Tuesday, the team named Sam Darnold their Week 12 starter. The 25-year-old will make his season debut, sending Baker Mayfield back to the bench.

Mayfield suffered an ankle injury in Week 5 but returned as a backup to PJ Walker before starting last Sunday. The former No. 1 pick went 21 of 33 for 196 passing yards, no touchdowns, and two picks in a 13-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Carolina's decision had social media buzzing about Mayfield's downward trajectory.

ESPN's David Newton wondered if the Panthers will cut Mayfield when PJ Walker returns from a high ankle sprain. FS1's Jason McIntyre asked whether Mayfield will even be in the league next year.

The 4 Man Rush podcast lamented Carolina acquiring Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns rather than trading for Jimmy Garoppolo, who is posting a 104.1 quarterback rating for the San Francisco 49ers.

As The Ringer's Rodger Sherman noted, the Panthers have made constant quarterback changes over the past four seasons. CatCrave's Dean Jones asserted that their options "all stink."

Mayfield has thrown six touchdowns with an NFL-worst 17.8 QBR in seven games this season. Yet Darnold was in the same situation last season, floundering with the Panthers after three years with the New York Jets.

The Panthers may go back to the drawing board during their Week 13 bye if Darnold doesn't impress in Sunday's start against the Denver Broncos.