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#pounditSaturday, September 23, 2023

Reporter reveals Panthers’ plan for Sam Darnold after Baker Mayfield trade

Aug 21, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) warms up before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers acquired quarterback Baker Mayfield Wednesday in a trade with the Cleveland Browns, but that may not signal the end of Sam Darnold’s tenure with the team.

Mayfield was traded for a conditional 2024 fifth-round draft pick while Cleveland will take on half of Mayfield’s $18.9 million salary.

Though Mayfield is likely in the driver’s seat to land the starting job, Darnold’s future with the team is reportedly not in question.

On Wednesday, ESPN’s David Newton reported that the Panthers do not intend to trade away Darnold despite acquiring Mayfield.

Carolina and Mayfield had been linked together via trade rumors for months, although one Panthers wide receiver didn’t seem too receptive to a potential trade initially.

It’ll be interesting to see what’s next for Darnold. While he’s currently the backup quarterback on the Panthers’ depth chart after tentatively holding the starting job this offseason, the team did trade up to select Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral with the 94th pick in this year’s draft. The Panthers picked up the fifth-year option on Darnold’s rookie deal, and the team may be in no rush to move him in the event that Mayfield sustains and injury and Corral isn’t ready to take the reins.

In 12 games last season, the 25-year-old threw for 2,527 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Whatever happens with Darnold this season, it certainly won’t be due to a lack of confidence.

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