Panthers release Mayfield one day after 49ers' QB turmoil originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Baker Mayfield's time in Carolina is over.
The former No. 1 overall pick was released by the Panthers on Monday. Mayfield will hit waivers, and he'll be an unrestricted free agent if no team claims him.
The Panthers acquired Mayfield from the Browns in July for a 2024 conditional fifth-rounder. He made seven appearances for Carolina this season, totaling six touchdowns, six interceptions and 1,313 passing yards before losing his job to P.J. Walker and then Sam Darnold.
Despite getting cut by the 4-8 Panthers, Mayfield could have a number of suitors when he hits the open market with no prior money attached. His salary for 2022 -- the fifth-year option of his rookie deal -- is part of what limited Cleveland's trade options last offseason.
On paper, the 49ers represent the most obvious fit for Mayfield. Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending broken foot in Sunday's win over the Dolphins, with rookie Brock Purdy -- 2022's Mr. Irrelevant -- coming on in relief.
Purdy performed well against Miami -- 25-for-37, 210 yards, two touchdowns, one interception -- but it would make sense to add a veteran. The 49ers reportedly signed Josh Johnson off the Broncos’ practice squad on Sunday night, while Jacob Eason remains on their own practice squad.
It's still unclear if San Francisco will have any interest in Mayfield, though it's hard to ignore the potential fit. Mayfield isn't the player he was in 2020, when he led the Browns to a playoff win with a 26-8 TD-INT ratio, but he could be worth a look as the 49ers look to keep their own postseason hopes alive.