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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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Carolina Panthers let Sam Darnold compete

Sam Darnold was never going to win the starting job at the start of last season’s camp. The competition with Baker Mayfield was always going to end with the No. 1 overall selection in 2018 winning the job after his high-profile trade from the Cleveland Browns.

Mayfield played his way out of the Carolina Panthers entirely. This also gave Darnold a window to return from injury and take over.

Darnold is not going to be a coveted player this offseason with clearly superior quarterbacks hitting both the trade and free-agent markets. Therefore, Carolina can likely bring him back with little competition.

The easiest way for the Panthers to cover all of their bases is to re-sign Darnold and allow him the chance to compete with Matt Corral and any new arrival. Unless Carolina lands Sean Payton or suddenly becomes a top destination, the likelihood of them landing a star signal-caller outside the draft is very slim.

Carolina can protect itself by bringing Darnold back without any promises. Outside of landing with a terrible team, the former first-round pick is facing the prospect of a backup job elsewhere, so the Panthers could provide more hope than that depending on how they approach this important decision.