The Carolina Panthers are making it clear that they’re putting all their chips in with Sam Darnold for 2021.
The Panthers traded for Darnold last month, signaling their intent to make him their starting quarterback. There was some thinking that the team might be tempted to select a top quarterback in the NFL Draft if one fell to them at No. 8. Instead, the Panthers selected defensive back Jaycee Horn, despite both Justin Fields and Mac Jones remaining on the board.
In an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show,” Panthers coach Matt Rhule made clear that the Panthers did what they did because of their full faith in Darnold.
“I love those guys and I think they’re gonna be great NFL players. I just think for us, when we got Sam and knowing he’s 23-years-old, just turned 24, we just felt like Sam plus another player would be better for the team overall,” Rhule said, via Grant Gordon of NFL.com. “We’re just trying to build the whole team and I just believe in Sam, I believe that he deserves the opportunity to go out and play with us.
“I think those other young quarterbacks are gonna be fantastic players, but the hit rate on first-round quarterbacks isn’t real, real high, and to have a chance to get Jaycee Horn and have Sam Darnold, we just kind of felt like, ‘Hey this is two for one.’ Now, we just have to make sure Sam’s a great player for us.”
Rhule makes good points, and it’s easy to take this as a suggestion that the Panthers simply weren’t sold on Fields or Jones. Darnold may be more of a sure thing in their minds.
Some people read a lot into the Panthers holding off on picking up Darnold’s fifth-year option, but it turned out to be meaningless. The team ended up doing so after the draft, and it’s pretty clear they’re going to be putting a lot of faith in the former New York Jet in 2021.
The Carolina Panthers have no problem looking at Sam Darnold as a potential long-term solution at quarterback, but they’re still waiting to pick up his fifth-year option.
The Panthers have until May 3 to decide on Darnold’s option, which would guarantee the quarterback’s $18.858 million salary for 2022. GM Scott Fitterer confirmed that the Panthers would make that decision after the NFL Draft.
“We have a strong plan in place,” Fitterer said, via Kevin Patra of NFL.com.
That plan is a simple one. The Panthers have the No. 8 selection in the draft, and if a top quarterback they like falls to them, they will not hesitate to select him. That’s not likely to happen, and if it doesn’t, they’re comfortable with Darnold and will likely pick up the option after the draft.
Darnold, for one, is very happy about his move to Carolina. He’s probably rooting for the top quarterbacks to go off the board early so he can nail down the job with the Panthers.
Sam Darnold will not be the guy who ultimately turns around the New York Jets, but he’s passing along some advice for whoever is poised to try next.
Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, was traded to the Carolina Panthers last week with the Jets poised to select a new franchise quarterback second overall in 2021. That makes Darnold the latest in a string of much-heralded quarterbacks to fail to live up to expectations in New York’s notoriously pressure-filled environment.
Darnold was asked if he had any advice for a future young Jets quarterback, and he kept it simple — and not entirely serious.
Joking or not, it is good advice. Sure, some controversies are legitimate, but in New York, there can be a lot of noise about things that don’t really matter.
It certainly sounds like we know who the next Jets quarterback will be. He’d do well to pay attention to what Darnold has to say about his experience.
The Carolina Panthers weren’t the only team that wanted to trade for Sam Darnold when the New York Jets signaled that he could be available.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Football Team both checked with the Jets about a Darnold trade prior to free agency. At that time, the Jets were not yet ready to begin discussing a Darnold trade, so both teams moved on to other options.
Washington ultimately opted to bring in veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, while the Niners made a more massive trade to secure a quarterback instead.
Darnold instead wound up with the Panthers, which seems okay with him.
Sam Darnold seems thrilled about his trade to a new team.
Jordan Palmer, the younger brother of former NFL quarterback Carson Palmer and currently a quarterbacks coach, shared a video on his Instagram Story Monday night. The video showed Darnold walking into a house to celebrate his trade to Carolina.
Darnold raises his arm to pump things up, indicating how happy he is. There are also Carolina Panthers-colored balloons around the room.
If you’re Darnold, how could you not be happy about the trade? Darnold dealt with injuries, mono, a flawed roster, and below-average head coach while playing for the Jets. Now he has a chance to start over anew with the Panthers. This is a second chance for Darnold, and an opportunity to prove he belongs in the NFL as a starting quarterback.
The Jets already seem to have their quarterback replacement picked out.
There was talk a while back that the New York Jets might trade away the No. 2 pick in the draft rather than move on from Sam Darnold, but they decided to part ways with the quarterback on Monday. According to general manager Joe Douglas, the fact that the Jets have the second overall pick in the draft made it evident that they needed to go in another direction.
Douglas spoke with the media about the Darnold trade on Tuesday. One quote in particular was very telling.
“Having the No. 2 pick, I think it’s safe to say if our pick was a little bit later we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now,” Douglas said, via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. “We’d be comfortable moving ahead with Sam.”
Of course, many would argue that the losing was not Darnold’s fault. The Jets didn’t exactly surround him with a Pro Bowl roster, and playing under Adam Gase had to be a challenge. Still, New York obviously feels there are better options in the draft than Darnold.
Darnold was the third overall pick in the draft just three years ago. He’s also still just 23, so you can understand why the Carolina Panthers feel he has a high ceiling. The Jets’ decision to trade him probably says more about their satisfaction with the 2021 QB class than how they view Darnold as a player.
The New York Jets traded Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers on Monday, and at least one player does not seem happy to see the quarterback go.
Not long after news of the Darnold trade surfaced, Jets safety Marcus Maye sent a very simple tweet that appeared to convey a clear message.
We highly doubt the timing was a coincidence.
If you remember, Maye also had an interesting Twitter reaction with Jamal Adams before the Jets traded the All-Pro to the Seattle Seahawks last year.
The Jets obviously feel they’ll be better off with whichever quarterback they select second overall than they would have been with Darnold. Most analysts agree they’re going to take former BYU star Zach Wilson, though Justin Fields is also a player to watch.
Maye was probably just showing support for Darnold, but he may also disagree with the trade.
New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas went out of his way to praise his outgoing quarterback after Monday’s trade.
Douglas issued a statement on Monday praising Sam Darnold, who was dealt to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a set of draft picks. Douglas said Darnold’s NFL story “has not been written yet,” and added that the trade is in the best interests of both Darnold and the Jets.
It’s not often that a team goes out of its way to praise a player like this after they’ve traded him. It’s quite clear that the Jets wanted Darnold to succeed, but landing the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft made their ultimate decision pretty easy.
Darnold is on his way to a new team that should be able to surround him with more talent than the Jets ever did.
The New York Jets are officially moving on from Sam Darnold.
Darnold has been traded from the Jets to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft, a second-round pick in 2022 and a fourth-round pick in 2022, according to multiple reports.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas admitted earlier in the offseason that the team was listening to offers for Darnold. Interest in the former No. 3 overall pick did not seem that high, however. Just when it appeared increasingly likely that the Jets would keep Darnold heading into the 2021 season, the Panthers finally made an offer New York deemed acceptible.
The Jets have the second overall pick in the upcoming draft, and they are obviously planning to use it on a quarterback. Most analysts believe they will pick former BYU star Zach Wilson, though Justin Fields is another name to watch.
Darnold was a bit disappointing with the Jets through three NFL seasons. He has passed for 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions in 38 career games, though he has dealt with mono, a foot injury and a shoulder injury. He also had to play under Adam Gase.
There have been rumors throughout the offseason that the Panthers are looking to upgrade from Teddy Bridgewater, and he could be the next veteran quarterback traded. Carolina could also hold an open competition between Darnold and Bridgewater.
The trade speculation surrounding Sam Darnold has cooled considerably in recent weeks, and it seems likely that the quarterback will remain with the team in 2021. He may not be guaranteed a starting job, however, which is something Josh McCown thinks the former USC star would embrace.
McCown, who was teammates with Darnold in 2018, spoke with ESPN’s Rich Cimini about the situation the Jets have put Darnold in over the past three seasons. He believes they are well positioned for the future but were not when they drafted Darnold. Despite that, he insists Darnold is maintaining a positive attitude.
“To be on the cusp of [an organizational reboot] and have them go, ‘Yeah, that’s not going to be for you, that’s going to be for somebody else’ — no doubt, it’s hard,” McCown said. “But I have not felt any negativity from him at all. He’s always positive and always has a great mindset. That speaks to his character and what he’s about.”
The Jets have the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Most analysts believe they’re going to draft BYU’s Zach Wilson. Should that happen, McCown believes Darnold would be ready to fight for a starting job.
“Sam would embrace it and be helpful, but he’d also go out and work hard and try to make the most of the opportunity to play this year — and put it back on them and make them have to make a tough decision at the end of the year,” McCown said. “I think, if that happens, really and truly, everybody wins.”
It was initially believed that the Jets would either trade Darnold or the No. 2 pick, but we recently explained why they may not do either.
Darnold has passed for 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions in 38 career games. He has dealt with mono, a foot injury and a shoulder injury in his first three seasons and also had to play under Adam Gase. It’s easy to make the argument that he hasn’t reached his full potential, but he’ll have to work to prove that.