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Panthers Might Not Be as Committed to Sam Darnold as it Seems

Isaiah De Los Santos
The Carolina Panthers may not be committed to Sam Darnold after just trading for him.
The Carolina Panthers may not be committed to Sam Darnold after just trading for him. / Al Pereira/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers were quick to celebrate their trade for former New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. They paid three draft picks -- including a second-rounder in 2022 -- to take a flier on Darnold, which could very well be worth it he turns out. But if his struggles continue, Carolina will end up burned.

The team seems to be approaching the start of the Darnold era cautiously.

Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady and quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan are two of many in attendance for Ohio State QB Justin Fields' pro day on Wednesday. It's possible they're just doing their pre-draft due diligence.

But each of the reported attendees for Fields' showcase are those with a legit shot of taking a quarterback. The New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots are all there to scout their possible next franchise QB, so it speaks volumes that Carolina is also attending.

Then there's the fact that head coach Matt Rhule said the team hadn't picked up Darnold's fifth-year option following the trade. Carolina has until May 3 to decide, and it looks like they're waiting until after the draft to make that call.

The Panthers not committing to Darnold ahead of that date shows they're holding out for the chance of selecting a top QB in the draft. It may not happen. Then they'll roll with Darnold. But it's a slight cause for concern if Carolina burned three draft picks to acquire someone who ends up as a backup so quickly.

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Isaiah De Los Santos is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Isaiah De Los Santos also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username zayyy05328. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.