NFL Rumors: Matt Barkley Agrees to Panthers Contract After Sam Darnold's Injury

Erin WalshNovember 9, 2021

NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 28:  Matt Barkley #14 of the Tennessee Titans warms up on the sidelines during an NFL preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Nissan Stadium on August 28, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers are reportedly signing free-agent quarterback Matt Barkley, according to The Athletic's Joe Person. 

The news comes as starting QB Sam Darnold continues to deal with a shoulder injury and underwent an MRI on Monday. 

Darnold suffered the shoulder injury before Carolina's Week 9 loss to the New England Patriots. He is considered day-to-day, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule told reporters Monday that he would wait for Darnold's MRI results before making a plan at quarterback for Week 10 against the Arizona Cardinals. 

Barkley isn't expected to be named Carolina's starter if Darnold is unable to play, Person notes. Backup QB P.J. Walker would likely be above him on the depth chart. 

Barkley spent training camp with the Tennessee Titans before being released in September. 

The Philadelphia Eagles selected the 31-year-old in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. He spent two seasons with the franchise before joining the Chicago Bears for the 2016 campaign. The USC product then spent the 2018-2020 seasons with the Buffalo Bills. 

In 19 career games (seven starts), Barkley is 2-5. He has completed 58.4 percent of his passes for 2,699 yards and 11 touchdowns against 22 interceptions. 

The Panthers acquired Darnold from the New York Jets during the offseason with hopes he could be the franchise's quarterback of the future. However, since starting the season 3-0, the 24-year-old has struggled. In his last five games, he has completed just 51.9 percent of his passes for 797 yards, two touchdowns and eight interceptions. 

Because of Darnold's struggles, Rhule was asked Monday if he believes the former third overall pick was still the right quarterback for the team.

"Right now we're focused on him and his health," he said, per ESPN's David Newton.

Darnold is under contract with the Panthers through the 2022 season. If he doesn't improve, Carolina might be back to the drawing board at quarterback.