One of the longest 2021 NFL trade sagas finally came to a conclusion this week. New York Jets agreed to trade starting quarterback Sam Darnold to NFC South franchise, Carolina Panthers on Monday. The Charlotte-based franchise will give up one 2nd and 4th rounder in 2022 in addition to a 6th rounder in exchange for Darnold.
The former 3rd overall pick has endured a tough start to his NFL career. In 38 starts for the Jets, Darnold has a 13-25-0 record playing under former head coach Adam Gase. He has thrown for 8,097 yards with 45 passing TDs against 39 interceptions since making his debut in 2018.
With Darnold as their starter, the New York-based franchise finished at the bottom of the AFC East behind Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots. So what does the future hold for the former 1st rounder in the NFL?
Sam Darnold signs for Matt Rhule’s Carolina Panthers ahead of 2021 NFL season
Sam Darnold will arrive in Charlotte in the build-up to the 2021 NFL preseason. He is expected to provide competition to experienced NFL shot-caller, Teddy Bridgewater. The former Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints man signed a $63 million contract with the Panthers before the start of the 2020 NFL season.
However, he is not really a guaranteed starter. Darnold has a shot at impressing coach Matt Rhule and climbing up the depth chart before the season starts in September. Here’s a short recap of his college career while playing for the University of Southern Columbia.
The return of star-running back Christian McCaffrey will definitely serve as a boost for the Panthers. But they need some added firepower in their wide receiver department. Robby Anderson, DJ Moore, and David Moore are currently the first-choice starters in the Carolina offense.
Despite a poor stat card, Sam Darnold showed glimpses of brilliance during his three-year stay at the Big Apple. It will be interesting to see if he can displace Bridgewater and get his NFL career back on track in the coming years.
There is hope at the end of the tunnel for Sam but only if he makes it to the end.