Panthers QB Baker Mayfield to start preseason opener vs. Commanders

Perhaps the first indication of how the Panthers' ongoing quarterback competition has been revealed.

Baker Mayfield will start the Panthers' preseason opener versus the Washington Commanders on Saturday, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported, per a source. The team has since announced the news.

Mayfield will play the first offensive series before Sam Darnold takes over for the second series of the game, according to the team. Veteran P.J. Walker and rookie Matt Corral are set to play a large majority of the first of three scheduled preseason games.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule has maintained all along that the teams' QB competition between the newly acquired Mayfield and the incumbent Darnold has been an ongoing process. The two veterans have been alternating reps throughout training camp.

Mayfield, who was acquired by Carolina via trade this offseason, gets the starting nod in what will be his debut in a Panthers uniform. Darnold, another trade acquisition by Carolina in the previous offseason, dealt with injuries and a midseason benching during his first season with the Panthers. Mayfield and Darnold were the first- and third-overall picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, respectively.

The Panthers also announced Saturday that defensive tackle Derrick Brown has been excused from the preseason opener for personal reasons.

Panthers-Commanders is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. ET.

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