The trade everyone has been waiting for has finally happened. The Cleveland Browns are trading QB Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional 2024 fifth-round draft pick. After trading for Sam Darnold last spring and drafting Matt Corral in the third round this spring, the Panthers trade for a former No. 1 overall in Mayfield.
Perhaps just as notably, the Seattle Seahawks DID NOT trade for Baker Mayfield or any other quarterback. And if we are to believe recent reports, they are ready to let Geno Smith and Drew Lock battle it out for the starting quarterback job in 2022, with an eye to the 2023 NFL Draft for a long-term upgrade.
Let’s take a look at the updated fantasy outlooks for all three of these quarterbacks.
Baker Mayfield traded to Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers are acquiring former QB Baker Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns for a 2024 conditional fifth-round draft pick, according to multiple reports. (Ian Rapoport on Twitter)
Mayfield has been the subject of trade rumors for several months, and the Panthers were always one of the landing spots that made the most sense. Matt Rhule is coaching for his job in Carolina, and a quarterback room that consisted of Sam Darnold, rookie third-round pick Matt Corral, and P.J. Walker does not inspire confidence. Mayfield is coming off a disappointing 2021 season himself, but he was also playing through a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder for much of the year. He’ll step in as the immediate starter for the Panthers, while Jacoby Brissett is the presumed starter for the Browns if Deshaun Watson is suspended before the beginning of the season. Oh, and the Browns play the Panthers in Carolina in Week 1 to kick off the 2022 season.
– Mike Maher
Updated Baker Mayfield Fantasy Outlook
Last season before Baker Mayfield reinjured the partially torn labrum in his left shoulder (Weeks 1-5), he was on his way to a solid if not underrated season in Cleveland. While he was on QB23 in fantasy points per game, his efficiency metrics painted a rosier picture. He was 14th in big-time throw rate, seventh in yards per attempt, and held the eighth-lowest turnover-worthy play rate (minimum 20 dropbacks, per PFF).
While Carolina looks like a lousy landing spot, Mayfield will be flanked by Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore, which isn’t a bad start for any quarterback. If Ben McAdoo can recreate his former magic as an offensive coordinator, Mayfield could be an easy QB2 target with some upside. Before taking the head coaching reins in New York, he led an offense that was top 13 in yards and total points in back-to-back seasons.
– Derek Brown
Thoughts on the Panthers-Browns trade:
– Baker Mayfield 🤷
– Christian McCaffrey
– D.J. Moore 🚀
– Robbie Anderson 📈
– Sam Darnold 💀
– Matt Corral 🪦
– No Change
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) July 6, 2022
Drew Lock to battle Geno Smith for starting QB job
According to Gregg Bell of The News Tribune, the Seattle Seahawks are focusing on their future for the QB position and opting to let QBs Drew Lock and Geno Smith fight for the starting gig in 2022. (Source: Gregg Bell, The News Tribune)
Fantasy Impact: Both Lock and Smith are on contracts set to expire at the end of the 2022 NFL season, opening the way for Seattle to restart at quarterback in 2023. In the meantime, the Seahawks will “roll with Lock or Smith for 2022, knowing they are in the position to add big at QB at a low, rookie-contract cost in the draft next spring,” according to Bell. In his first three seasons, Lock has struggled to stay on the field due to a mixture of injuries and quarterback battles. The second-round pick out of Missouri will have to fight for the starting gig once more, this time against Smith. In 2020, Lock played in a career-high 13 games and finished as a low-end QB2 on the season with a hair under 3,000 yards and a touchdown-interception ratio of 16-15. In 2021, though, he started three games and fought with QB Teddy Bridgewater for the job. Turnovers have been a big issue for Lock in his career, and while his penchant for big plays leads to high air yards per attempt, it also leads to high sack and turnover rates. Lock is starting behind the curve already in a new offensive scheme, though his skillset seems to match well with Seattle’s talent at wide receiver. If he were to earn the starting role, which is no guarantee, he will be fighting an uphill battle for fantasy relevancy.
– Jordan Epp
Updated Drew Lock Fantasy Outlook
Drew Lock was shipped off to Seattle as part of the Russell Wilson trade to compete for the starting job with Geno Smith. As a new member of the team, Lock is viewed as the No. 2 quarterback and will have to beat out Smith in training camp/preseason to earn the starting nod. I’m not optimistic that Lock can win the job after he failed to beat out Teddy Bridgewater a season ago
Lock also failed to turn heads when he got the chance to play in 2021, throwing for just two touchdowns in six games (1.8 TD%).
– Andrew Erickson
Mood when drew lock isn’t your QB anymore 🤣 https://t.co/HYN9kqjLK3
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) June 8, 2022
Geno Smith will fight Drew Lock for QB1
The Seattle Seahawks are prepared to ride with QBs Geno Smith and Drew Lock for the 2022 season, focusing on the future at the position, according to Gregg Bell of The News Tribune. (Source: Gregg Bell, The News Tribune)
Fantasy Impact: Smith has not been a long-term starter in the NFL since 2014 when he started 13 games for the New York Jets in his sophomore season. But with QB Russell Wilson in Denver and QB Baker Mayfield in Charlotte, the runway is open for Smith. In four games last season, the former second-round pick completed over 68% of his passes for 702 yards and scored six total touchdowns with two turnovers in relief for Wilson. At age 31, though, Smith is well removed from his rookie season that saw him finish as a low-end QB2 with six rushing touchdowns. He practiced with the first-team offense during OTAs, and coach Pete Carrol said he was “ahead” of Lock, giving Smith an early lead in the QB1 race, but a weak offensive line mixed with a sack-prone quarterback on a team that might start watching Alabama and Ohio State tape a little early is not a recipe for success, even if he wins the starting job. Smith likely won’t be relevant in any non-superflex formats.
– Jordan Epp
Updated Geno Smith Fantasy Outlook
Because Geno Smith started for the Seattle Seahawks last season, he’s viewed as the favorite to earn the QB1 role ahead of the 2022 NFL season. He was PFF’s 6th-highest graded quarterback from a clean pocket (91.8) and generated a 103.0 passer rating with a 5-1 TD to interception ratio in four starts. In Week 8 versus the Jaguars, Smith finished the Week as the QB overall. In 2-QB formats, Smith should be selected ahead of Drew Lock.
– Andrew Erickson
This is…Geno. Smith. https://t.co/27A0dLg1Jj
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) May 20, 2022
2022 Fantasy Football Staff Consensus Rankings
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