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Could the addition of Baker Mayfield make the Panthers a surprising test in Week 2?

The Giants will likely see Mayfield in week 2

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The start of the New York Giants schedule might have gotten tougher on Wednesday. The Carolina Panthers traded for Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Panthers sent a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick to the Browns in exchange for the estranged quarterback.

While Mayfield hasn’t lived up to expectations as a first overall selection, he has flashed very good play throughout his career. He seemed to turn a corner in 2020, winning 11 games and throwing 26 touchdowns to 8 interceptions, while also setting a career high for adjusted yards per attempt at 7.7 and passer rating. He wasn’t able to build on that season after suffering a shoulder injury in Week 2 last year. Though he played through the injury, he was obviously impacted and finally had surgery to repair the injury in January of this year.

Mayfield won’t be handed the job, as the Panthers also have Sam Darnold and rookie Matt Corral on the roster. However it’s also difficult to see either of them beating out a healthy Mayfield for the starting job.

Carolina will also be getting 2021 first-round pick Jaycee Horn and running back Christian McCaffrey back from injury. The Panthers also have 2018 first round receiver D.J. Moore and 2021 second round receiver Terrace Marshall. A return to form from Mayfield and McCaffrey could present an early — and unexpected — test for the Giants’ passing defense under Wink Martindale.

The Giants have the easiest schedule in the NFL (based on last year’s win totals), but are still hoping for a quick start. More consistent quarterback play could make the Panthers a much more difficult out than with Sam Darnold or a rookie at quarterback.