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Report: Baker Mayfield Requested Release After Getting Demoted

Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield

The big news in the NFL on Monday is that former No. 1 draft pick Baker Mayfield will finish this season with a new team.

Mayfield, who started six games with the Carolina Panthers after the Panthers acquired him in a trade from the Cleveland Browns, was released on Monday. He will be eligible to be claimed by a new team when the league's waivers run Wednesday.

We now know why the Panthers released Mayfield. Turns out, Mayfield asked for it.

According to Jeff Howe of the Athletic, the Panthers informed Mayfield that he would be demoted to the team's third-string quarterback following the team's Week 13 bye. Mayfield then asked "to get a fresh start elsewhere," per Howe.

"The Panthers had informed Baker Mayfield that he was going to be the No. 3 QB, per source," Howe tweeted. "Mayfield then requested to be released to get a fresh start elsewhere, and the Panthers obliged. He’ll hit waivers."

Mayfield's demotion in Carolina results from both Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker being healthy for the first time this season. 

Darnold missed the first 11 weeks of the year due to a sprained ankle suffered during the preseason. He played well in his first game back, leading the Panthers to a 23-10 win over the Denver Broncos, and interim head coach Steve Wilks has named him the team's starter for its Week 14 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks as a result. 

Walker, who replaced Mayfield midway through Week Five and started the team's following five games, will back up Darnold. Walker, too, has missed time due to an ankle sprain in recent weeks.

Earlier this season, when Mayfield initially lost his starting job to Walker, he told reporters that he had no plans to ask the team for a trade or release.

He may have changed his mind in part because of an opportunity elsewhere. 

The San Francisco 49ers appear to be in need of a quarterback after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending foot injury during the team's win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. With Trey Lance already having been lost for the season due to injury, there has been rampant speculation Monday that Mayfield could end up in San Francisco.

We should know in the next couple days whether that will come to fruition.