4 Carolina Panthers running out of time to secure new deals in 2023

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sean Ryan and Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sean Ryan and Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold – Carolina Panthers QB

For once in Sam Darnold‘s career with the Carolina Panthers, he was a long way down the list of problems during their defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The quarterback turned in another turnover-free game – his third in succession – which was impressive considering the lack of any running game and the offensive line’s worst performance since Week 1 versus the Cleveland Browns.

Darnold will once again start in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions, which is the right call to make. However, interim head coach Steve Wilks made no secret about finding a dynamic presence under center if he gets the job permanently from team owner David Tepper.

Wilks also thought there were some things Darnold could do better moving forward. Something he relayed to the signal-caller during a conversation on Monday.

"“I thought Sam made some good throw. A couple of throws, I felt like we had the opportunity to get out there a little quicker and a chance to have a touchdown. I thought he did some good things, and we’ve got to do a better job of protecting to give him more time in the pocket.”"

While Darnold’s limitations are obvious, he’s easily the best option Carolina has at the moment. However, what his future looks like beyond the current campaign is undetermined.

The former USC star can enhance his chances of a short-term deal in Carolina by finishing the season strongly. If the Panthers decide not to keep Darnold around, then this represents a shop-window situation for the player in pursuit of getting an opportunity elsewhere.