7 Carolina Panthers players entering the last chance saloon in 2021

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold and Matt Rhule /

Sam Darnold – Carolina Panthers QB

The Carolina Panthers hitched their wagon to Sam Darnold this offseason, acquiring the troubled quarterback from the New York Jets in a trade that cost them three draft picks.

Although general manager Scott Fitterer got two of those selections back during a frenzied period of activity during the 2021 NFL Draft, bringing Darnold on board at the expense of Teddy Bridgewater is another big gamble that comes with feast or famine prospects.

There is still some hope that Darnold can turn things around. Much has been made about the Jets’ lack of belief in the signal-caller, but it won’t take long to figure out whether he has what it takes with far superior talent around him.

Having Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, David Moore, Terrace Marshall Jr., Shi Smith, and Dan Arnold to call upon in the passing game is a luxury Darnold cannot afford to waste.

If he fails to reignite his career in this sort of environment, the former No. 3 overall selection can kiss his chances of a successful NFL career goodbye.

Simply put, the stakes couldn’t be much higher for Darnold in 2021.

Must Read. Carolina Panthers depth chart: Pre-camp 53-man roster projection for 2021. light

Providing Darnold gets the right sort of protection from his offensive line, then there are no more excuses. However, this is far from a guarantee and if things end up turning sour, it will leave far more questions than answers where the Panthers are concerned at the most important position on the field.