As of now, Sam Darnold is the Carolina Panthers’ starting quarterback.
That might not be the case by the time they begin the 2022 season by hosting the Cleveland Browns. In fact, those two squads could complete a trade before their Week 1 encounter.
Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports recently reported that Carolina and Cleveland are continuing to negotiate a deal for Baker Mayfield. The Panthers are feeling “urgency” to make it happen soon so he has time to prepare with his new team in camp.
Those rumors create an awkward situation for Darnold. During Wednesday’s press conference, the 25-year-old told reporters (h/t Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper) that he’s trying to only pay attention to elements he can control.
“I’m just going to continue to focus on what I need to do, develop as I can as a quarterback,” Darnold said. “Like I mentioned before, learn the system. That’s really all I’m focused on. If I focus on anything other than that, it wouldn’t be smart of me to do that.”
Taken two picks behind Mayfield by the New York Jets in 2018, Darnold recorded a career-low 71.9 passer rating for the Panthers last season. He now has 54 passing touchdowns and 52 interceptions in 50 career games.
Darnold’s immediate and long-term future remain uncertain, but Carolina stands out as a logical landing spot for Mayfield. Yet Darnold m ready in case the Panthers don’t make a move this summer.