4 options the Panthers have with Sam Darnold after 2022 resurgence

(Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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What options do the Carolina Panthers have with Sam Darnold after the quarterback’s mini-resurgence in 2022?

The Carolina Panthers have a number of tough decisions to make in free agency this offseason. None is more important than the quarterback position.

With Baker Mayfield released and Sam Darnold set to become a free agent, Carolina will have to decide if he has any future on the team. P.J. Walker will be a restricted free agent as well, leaving zero quarterbacks with NFL experience on their roster.

Darnold finished the season with a 4-2 record, throwing for 1,143 passing yards and a 7-3 touchdown to interception ratio. This was the best version of the signal-caller we’ve seen over a five-year NFL career and gave those in power a reason to wonder if he could return next season.

The former USC star will hit free agency as one of the less sought-after options in his position. Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Teddy Bridgewater might be preferred based on their track records, with the prospect of Ryan Tannehill and Derek Carr’s early releases something else working against him.

Carolina will have plenty of time to chase certain possibilities at the position and make a thoughtful conclusion on whether Darnold is an option moving forward. Here are four potential outcomes that could emerge between the Panthers and the resurgent signal-caller in the near future.