Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse for the Carolina Panthers, they have to wake up each day and look at the NFC South standings and see their former quarterback, Baker Mayfield, atop the standings with his new team, the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Yes, we are four weeks into the NFL season and Baker’s Bucs are 3-1 thus far, three games ahead of the Panthers (0-4) who are still waiting for a quarterback to win a game.

Mayfield has not seen first place since he won a Heisman at Oklahoma. He was the Cleveland Browns’ No. 1 overall draft pick and was heralded as a franchise savior. Mayfield did lead the Browns to a playoff win before the franchise gave up on him shortly thereafter.

Mayfield was traded out of town for a fifth-rounder and spent part of 2022 in Carolina before getting released and then hooking on late as a stopgap for the injury-decimated Los Angeles Rams. He went just 2-8 as a starter last season.

When he signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay last offseason, it was seen as taking a flier on a guy. The move did not move the meter.

Vegas had Tampa winning six or seven games this season. The Bucs were a heavy underdog in the NFC South. Not anymore.

Mayfield and Tampa moved into first place on Sunday after taking care of New Orleans. Baker completed 25 of 32 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 31 yards.

The Panthers will play Tampa twice this season which means they will be watching tape of Mayfield’s exploits. I wonder if anyone with the team will question their decision to give up on Mayfield?

Mayfield has thrown seven touchdowns against just two interceptions, on pace to challenge his career-best numbers. His 69.9 percent completion percentage and 101.5 QBR are well above the numbers he has put up in the past.

Meanwhile, the Panthers starter, Bryce Young, has just two scoring passes.

Few saw this coming. After all, he is on his fourth team in six seasons. Three franchises lost confidence in the former No. 1 draft pick. Mayfield obviously never lost confidence. The NFL might have been done with Baker, but he certainly wasn’t done with the NFL.

Baker Mayfield