The Carolina Panthers are being forced to change their plans at quarterback once again. Head coach Steve Wilks announced on Monday that P.J. Walker has a high ankle sprain, so Baker Mayfield will start on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
With P.J. Walker dealing with a high ankle sprain, Panthers’ HC Steve Wilks told reporters that Baker Mayfield will start Sunday vs. Baltimore.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 14, 2022
Walker has started the last five games for the Panthers, having taken over after Mayfield injured his ankle during the Panthers' Week 5 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Mayfield made his first reappearance on the field in Week 9 against the Cincinnati Bengals when he replaced Walker at halftime, and ended up leading three second-half touchdown drives. Despite that, Walker started in Week 10, an ugly Thursday night win against the Atlanta Falcons.
No matter how may times the Panthers try to turn away from Mayfield, the board game spinner of life keeps landing them on his spot. Now with Walker injured, they essentially have no choice but to start Mayfield. They do technically have an alternative to Mayfield, but it's Sam Darnold, who lost out on the starting job, injured his ankle, and hasn't seen any game action all year.
There is a hidden winner here, and it's the team that traded Mayfield to the Panthers: the Cleveland Browns. They received a 2024 fifth-round draft pick as part of the Mayfield trade, but if he plays at least 70 percent of the snaps for the Panthers, that turns into a fourth-rounder.