6 Carolina Panthers players that will not be back in 2022

Dean Jones
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /
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Carolina Panthers
(Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports) P.J. Walker /

P.J. Walker – Carolina Panthers QB

  • 2022 free agent

Sam Darnold’s struggles under center are well documented and may force the Carolina Panthers into another bold move to improve their fortunes under center in 2022. The former first-round selection just hasn’t lived up to preseason expectations as yet, so it won’t be much longer before alternative plans are made at the most important position on the field.

Darnold is under contract through the 2022 season after the Panthers picked up his fifth-year option. But the time might have arrived for Carolina to avoid the temptation of a reclamation project or quick fix and get a potential franchise signal-caller from the draft, instead.

One problem with this is there aren’t many players at the position worthy of a top-end pick. The 2022 class is nowhere near the standard of this year’s crop, so any new arrival would need time to develop behind Darnold before potentially assuming command.

Just what direction Carolina goes down is yet to be determined. But the future of P.J. Walker doesn’t look promising, in any case.

It’s a difficult situation for Walker anytime he comes into a game. His one start was a victory over the Detroit Lions in 2020, but if the Panthers had any confidence in him long-term, he’d be competing with rather than backing up Darnold.

Walker does have a previous connection to head coach Matt Rhule from their time together at Temple. He is also cheap, so keeping him around in some capacity cannot be ruled out entirely.