On April 5th of this year, Sam Darnold was traded from the New York Jets to the Carolina Panthers. It’s a clean start for Darnold, who wasn’t overly impressive in New York. With that said, analysts claim that Darnold has considerably untapped potential and the hope is that he will excel in Carolina. However, Panthers General Manager Scott Fitterer is already showing doubt in Darnold’s future.
Fitterer indicated that the team won’t decide on Darnold’s fifth-year option for the 2022 season until after the 2021 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday. The Panthers traded three draft picks for Darnold and claimed that they would exercise the $18.5M contract option, but now it seems they are not so sure. They deadline to choose whether to exercise that option or not is May 3rd.
While it would be hard to imagine the Panthers not to exercise that option, with the 8th pick in the draft there is a possibility they could draft a quarterback. If they do end up drafting a quarterback, Darnold’s future in Carolina will not look that great.
I think you always learn from experiences you have, and it’s not just quarterbacks,” Fitterer said. “It’s every position. I believe in bringing in the best players that can fit your team, create competition and upgrade your roster. So whether it’s a quarterback, a corner, it doesn’t matter. It’s how do they fit our team, what’s the path for success and what’s our plan.”