Sam Darnold – Carolina Panthers QB
Obviously, the main winner in all this is Sam Darnold. The quarterback now gets a fresh start on a team that has an abundance of weapons to call upon in the passing game despite the departure of Curtis Samuel to the Washington Football Team in free agency. So everything is in place for the signal-caller to make a real go of things in a different environment.
It’s vital Darnold gets better protection around him. The Carolina Panthers are sure to address this need early in the 2021 NFL Draft, with the prospect of slotting either Penei Sewell or Rashawn Slater as a bookend opposite stud right tackle Taylor Moton now a real possibility.
This would instantly upgrade the position and if Carolina can get some improvements from the interior in pass protection after deciding not to bring back Chris Reed, it will be another major shot in the arm for Darnold.
The signal-caller also has the benefit of an All-Pro alongside him in Christian McCaffrey, who is clearly chomping at the bit to make his presence felt in 2021 after missing 13 games last season due to various injury problems.
Couple this with a previous relationship throwing to Robby Anderson, two big-time playmakers in D.J. Moore and David Moore, a reliable pass-catching tight end in Dan Arnold, and a dynamic play-caller in Joe Brady, and it’s hard to see how Darnold will fail.
Hopefully, his time at the Jets hasn’t done too much damage to his confidence. But what comes next will ultimately come down to how Darnold responds to a new and exciting challenge.