4 pros and cons to the Panthers trading for Sam Darnold

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Sam Darnold
(Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold’s confidence

Being part of the New York Jets under Adam Gase was enough to crush even the strongest of spirit. Sam Darnold probably winced when the organization eventually took him at No. 3 overall in 2018 in the same fashion Trevor Lawrence breathed a sigh of relief when they won two meaningless games to cost them a shot at the Clemson quarterback.

The “seeing ghosts” talk didn’t help.

But in one sense, it was a reflection of the size of the task playing on a struggling team.

Darnold has been sacked 98 times in 38 games – an average of 7.4 percent of his offensive snaps – which left him running for his life and under almost constant pressure from the word go. The Carolina Panthers also had some trouble protecting Teddy Bridgewater efficiently in 2020 despite another outstanding campaign from Taylor Moton, but big changes are expected to the offensive line in free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.

Regardless of whether the Jets helped Darnold much or not is a moot point for the Panthers.

They simply have to be convinced he can turn things around in a new scheme with better weapons at his disposal.

There is a small matter of Darnold’s confidence to consider. Once this goes for a quarterback, it’s hard to get back. Carolina would be betting big he can become inspired elsewhere, but it won’t take long for doubts to creep in if things begin poorly.