Could the Carolina Panthers really take three quarterbacks onto their 53-man roster following the team’s training camp in Spartanburg?
All eyes are currently on the quarterback competition developing within the Carolina Panthers in training camp. Sam Darnold has a fight on his hands carving out a similar role for himself following offseason changes that saw Matt Corral drafted at No. 94 overall and Baker Mayfield arriving via trade from the Cleveland Browns.
In truth, Darnold can have no complaints. The quarterback simply didn’t do enough after a high-profile switch from the New York Jets, reverting to type following a positive start to leave serious concerns about his future aspirations.
The Panthers have a predicament on their hands with Darnold. This is thanks in no small part to the organization inexplicably picking up his fifth-year option with $18.85 million attached before he’d participated in one practice.
Looking back with regret is something Carolina can ill-afford at this stage. There is a tremendous amount on the line for Matt Rhule in 2022 and any further inconsistencies could spell the end given the immense pressure on his shoulders.
It promises to be intense and has been already over the early stages. While the Panthers took just two quarterbacks through onto the 53-man roster last season – releasing former third-round selection Will Grier – general manager Scott Fitterer stated that might not be the case this time around.
Carolina Panthers ‘more likely’ to take three QBs onto 2022 roster
The respected front office figure stated that it’s “more likely” Carolina takes three signal-callers into the campaign this year. Although Fitterer didn’t rule anything out one way or another.
Again, this is towing the party line to a certain extent. If they deem Darnold surplus to requirements, then it’ll be more difficult to find a willing trade partner if another team comes calling or injury strikes elsewhere.
There will be plenty of teams across the league that have three quarterbacks. But in a weird way, it might cause complications the Panthers don’t need.
If Mayfield is the guy, then having Darnold waiting in the wings is an expensive and unnecessary distraction. The former USC standout would also hinder Corral’s development, which might have long-term implications in his bid to become a franchise player.
Going with three at the most important position on the field also takes away a spot elsewhere. This could mean a promising player is removed from the equation and scooped up by someone else.
Unless something drastic occurs in camp, Darnold is the odd man out. However, one cannot overlook the significant financial ramifications of his early departure.
Darnold’s contract is fully guaranteed. Trading him would likely see the Panthers eat a substantial portion of this to get the deal over the line, with the possibility of splitting his dead cap something else to consider if those in power feel like releasing the No. 3 overall selection in 2018 is the best option.
If the Panthers did end up trading or cutting Darnold, then the chances are Mayfield and Corral would be the options under center. Carolina could try and sneak P.J. Walker onto the practice squad, which is risky considering how many other teams are desperate for better backups on the cheap.
Mayfield might provide the spark needed, but nobody knows for sure. Even so, if Corral needs a little extra time and Darnold doesn’t progress sufficiently, then he’s Carolina’s best option by a considerable margin in 2022.