Sam Darnold – Carolina Panthers QB
As is the case with Dennis Daley, there is a chance that Sam Darnold might not be in the team’s plans for 2022. The quarterback’s first season with the Carolina Panthers following his trade from the New York Jets was a disaster and their search for a better option continues despite drafting Matt Corral at No. 94 overall.
The Ole Miss product is seen as a potential long-term option. But asking Corral to start immediately would be asking for trouble, which is the reason why Matt Rhule stated that if the season started today, Darnold would be the man under center.
Of course, a lot can happen between now and then.
The Panthers are reportedly still exploring the possibility of trading for Baker Mayfield and if Jimmy Garoppolo is eventually released by the San Francisco 49ers, he becomes another legitimate option.
Darnold is taking everything in his stride in the face of ongoing speculation about his future. And the former first-round pick out of USC has been impressive throughout offseason workouts so far.
However, there is enough bad film to suggest he cannot get it done in the crunch. Had the Panthers not picked up his fifth-year option with a fully guaranteed $18.85 million, the signal-caller might not be around at all.
It’ll take a big-time leap forward for Darnold to become the starter again. But it would be a huge shock if this wasn’t his last season with the team.