Many moves are happening around NFL training camps as teams approach the Tuesday afternoon deadline to cut their rosters to 80 players. Here’s what’s been happening recently around the league.
Mayfield Named Panthers’ Week 1 Starter
The Carolina Panthers and head coach Matt Rhule have named Baker Mayfield the starting quarterback in their opener at home against the Cleveland Browns. He had been competing with Sam Darnold, the Panthers’ starter last season and a three-year starter with the New York Jets, for the job since Mayfield was brought over in an offseason trade. In 12 games last season, Darnold threw for just nine touchdowns and had 13 interceptions, and was 29th in the league in QBR.
The two QBs divided reps with the first team during this training camp, but neither has seen much action in preseason games. They both played in the first game against the Washington Commanders, with Darnold going 2-of-3 for 16 yards and Mayfield 4-of-7 for 45 yards. Although Mayfield had been inconsistent in his years with the Browns, he led them to the playoffs in 2020 and has three seasons throwing for over 3,000 yards.
Bates Returns To Bengals Camp
Cincinnati Bengals’ safety Jessie Bates reported to training camp on Tuesday after holding out for most of the preseason after falling short of agreeing to a long-term contract with the team. When they didn’t have a deal by the July 15 deadline, Bates decided to skip training camp but has now agreed to play at least one more season before testing the free agent market next year. Instead, he will sign the team’s $12.91 million franchise tag and start attending team practices this week.
Bates played a key role for the Bengals during last season’s Super Bowl run. He had a great postseason with six passes defended and had the crucial interception in overtime against Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. He also had one interception in the Super Bowl against the Rams’ Matthew Stafford. The Bengals are happy to have most of their defense back for this season, with nine starters now set to return in 2022.
Drake To Be Cut By Raiders
Veteran Las Vegas Raiders RB Kenyon Drake will be released by the team after saying in a recent Associated Press interview that GM Dave Ziegler contacted him to let him know of the team’s decision. The move will allow the team to absorb a salary cap hit of $3.6 million this season and another $4.4 million in 2023. Drake signed an $11 million deal in Jon Gruden’s last season with the Raiders, which guarantees him $8.5 million.
After breaking his leg in December, Drake failed to finish his first season with the team. However, he has recovered from the injury and has been suiting up for the Raiders’ preseason games. He’ll undoubtedly be looking for a team that can take advantage of his skills and works him into their system without him having to take most of the workload.
The six-year veteran is versatile, and many teams would be a good fit for him. Once the Raiders make a move, and he’s on the open market, he shouldn’t have any issues finding a new team. There are several ideal landing spots, including top teams like the Chiefs and Rams, who could both use a little extra production from the running back position.