Sam Darnold Unfazed by Panthers QB Pursuit: Some Team Would 'Want Me' If I'm ReplacedApril 7, 2022
Sam Darnold is taking a very pragmatic approach amid rumors the Carolina Panthers have been trying to find a new quarterback this offseason.
Appearing on the Bussin' with the Boys podcast (h/t ESPN's David Newton), Darnold said he's not concerned about his future because there would be another team that "would want me" if the Panthers go in a different direction.
"It's truly whatever happens happens, because at the end of the day, it's out of my control, and I know that," he added. "I have enough security in myself where I can say, 'I know I'm a good quarterback. I know I can be a good quarterback in this league. I've proved it.'"
Dating back to last offseason, Carolina's approach to finding a long-term answer at quarterback has been puzzling.
The Panthers seemed to bank on the theory that getting away from Adam Gase can make a player better when they acquired Darnold in April 2021. They sent the New York Jets three draft picks, including a 2022 second-rounder, in the deal and picked up Darnold's $18.9 million option for 2022.
Darnold did not reward Carolina's faith in him. He threw for 2,527 yards, nine touchdowns, 13 interceptions and completed 59.9 percent of his passes in 12 games last season.
The Athletic's Joe Person reported during the 2021 season that the Panthers were expected to be involved in Deshaun Watson trade talks leading up to the trade deadline.
The Houston Texans wound up holding on to Watson for the entire season. Carolina was again back in the Watson market this offseason, as one of four teams he was considering waiving his no-trade clause for.
Watson wound up being traded to the Cleveland Browns on March 20.
The Panthers have also been mentioned as a potential landing spot for one of the top quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL draft. The MMQB's Albert Breer reported they will be hosting Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder, Sam Howell and Bailey Zappe next week.
The Panthers only have one pick in the first three rounds (No. 6 overall) thanks to their trades for Darnold and cornerback C.J. Henderson. Their second pick doesn't come until the fourth round (No. 137 overall).
Darnold is still young enough—he turns 25 on June 5—that he would probably be able to find a new team if the Panthers decide to move on. It's unlikely he would be given a starting job based on his performance over the past four seasons, though.