5 major observations from Panthers QB Sam Darnold’s 2021 offseason

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

It’s been an eventful offseason for Sam Darnold. Here are some major observations from the new Carolina Panthers quarterback ahead of the 2021 campaign.

Sam Darnold has gone through a rollercoaster of emotions this offseason. The former first-round pick was traded to the Carolina Panthers just before the 2021 NFL Draft, with the organization deciding to give up three draft selections in pursuit of acquiring the quarterback from the New York Jets.

There are many still questioning this decision. Especially as it led to the Panthers passing up the opportunity to select Ohio State signal-caller Justin Fields, who’s left a significant impression during his first preparation period with the Chicago Bears.

Darnold gets the perfect chance to announce his arrival next weekend against his old team at Bank of America Stadium. Simply put, only a huge statement will do from the USC product against the franchise that gave up on him in favor of Zach Wilson.

Looking back – and forward – here are five major observations from what’s been an eventful 2021 offseason for Carolina’s new QB1.

Observation No. 1

Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold was highly motivated after being traded

Getting traded undoubtedly stung. Sam Darnold freely admitted that himself during his introductory press conference with the Carolina Panthers.

However, it seems to have provided the No. 3 overall selection in 2018 with some added motivation to make this big opportunity count.

Darnold knows what’s at stake. If he fails in Carolina, there appears little chance he’ll get the chance to become a prominent starter elsewhere anytime soon.

This increased sense of urgency has been noticeable. But handling this situation with class is something else Darnold deserves credit for.