Sam Darnold’s future is murkier than ever
This was an unlikely opportunity for Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers. One that seemed almost unbelievable after a 1-5 start and trading Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers.
While beating Tom Brady in these situations is challenging, victory was within the Panthers’ grasp until falling late on. The defense was non-existent – especially in the secondary – and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo going away from the running attack that broke franchise records in Week 16 was nothing short of bizarre.
Darnold played well enough and he isn’t the biggest problem Carolina has right now. But whether he’s the solution or not is the million-dollar question.
One that most already know the answer to.
Whether it’s Steve Wilks or someone else who gets the permanent head coaching gig, addressing the quarterback position as a matter of urgency is essential. Going down the draft route seems feasible in Carolina’s current flux, but moving forward with just Darnold and Matt Corral on the books is simply not an option.
If the Panthers decide to cut their losses with Darnold entirely, nobody would argue too much. But the signal-caller has at least provided enough positive film to potentially get another job elsewhere.
That might be as a backup or bridge quarterback at best. And with nothing on the line in Week 18 at the New Orleans Saints, Darnold is officially out of time to alter perceptions.