4 major observations from Sam Darnold’s performance at the Saints

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
4 of 4
Sam Darnold
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold faces a waiting game

There is nothing more Sam Darnold can do in pursuit of convincing the Carolina Panthers to keep him around. Those in power need to make numerous key decisions before his future is decided one way or another, so it’s a nervous waiting game for the No. 3 overall selection in 2018 before his eventual fate is sealed.

This all starts with a new head coach and how he perceives Darnold’s recent progress.

Whether that’s Steve Wilks or someone else remains to be seen. But the Panthers are in desperate need of a long-term solution under center and based on his career to date, that doesn’t appear to be the USC product.

It would be a shock if the Panthers didn’t go after one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. Now that the Chicago Bears hold the No. 1 overall selection, a situation could open up where Carolina trades up for a king’s ransom if they are convinced of someone like Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud.

Darnold’s reprieve could arrive if the Panthers decide they need a bridge option in the short term. Especially considering Matt Corral missed his entire rookie campaign and remains something of an unknown quantity.

The gunslinger should be relatively pleased with how he fared when returning to the lineup. But the NFL is a business and the Panthers might never get a better chance to finally solve their complex riddle under center.

Only time will tell.

Must Read. 10 quick thoughts from the Carolina Panthers win at Saints in Week 18. light