Rookies and veterans report Tuesday for the Carolina Panthers hoping some key roster changes could lead to a more successful third year for head coach Matt Rhule.
Rhule, who has won five games each in his first two seasons, could be feeling some heat, as evidenced by his decision to pursue another option at quarterback, newly traded for Baker Mayfield. Fortunately, Mayfield offers benefits to a company desperate for improvement.
Training camp location: Spartanburg, SC
Rookie Report Date: July 26th
Veteran’s Report Date: July 26
Key Acquisitions: QB Baker Mayfield, S Xavier Woods, RB D’Onta Foreman, OL Austin Corbett, OL Bradley Bozeman
Main losses: QB Cam Newton, CB Stephon Gilmore, DT DaQuan Jones, LB Hason Reddick
In almost every way, Mayfield has outperformed former starter Sam Darnold in the NFL so far, so asking him to step up offense seems like a safe bet.
A bigger question for the Panthers might be how much help they can provide to Mayfield.
DJ Moore was a consistent performer on the outside, but he’s had to make it on his own too often as Christian McCaffrey struggled with a multitude of injuries.
D’Onta Foreman can be expected to help, and the offensive line has been strengthened in the draft and freehand (no small feat). McCaffrey’s health and durability is still a priority.
Defending with Impact players like Brian Burns, Shaq Thompson and Derrick Brown is probably good enough to give the team a chance. Now it’s the turn of the offensive to improve.
Browns at Panthers, 1 p.m. ET
Line: Browns -1 (FanDuell)
It’s perfect that Mayfield’s first game with the Panthers will be against his former team, the Cleveland Browns. Do you think Mayfield, who’s been a fiery guy in the past, might be a little jacked for this? Historically, the Panthers have a 4-2 advantage in the series, although the Browns last won 26-20 in December 2018.
Most over/under bets currently hover around seven wins and pay +105 to +230 or so. If you think Mayfield can turn the tide of the Panthers in a pivotal year for Rhule, why not jump on the wild card prop bet team instead? Last year’s wild card only required nine wins, and if the Panthers win nine and can sneak into the wild card, it will pay +750 (MGM) in return.