The Carolina Panthers stunned the NFL by trading for New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold on Monday afternoon. The deal helps the Jets stockpile draft picks for an impending rebuild and gives the 23-year-old, former No. 3 overall pick an opportunity as a starter elsewhere.
But, Darnold won’t be surrounded by entirely unfamiliar faces on the Panthers. In fact, he’ll have a reunion with his former teammate, Robby Anderson.
The former Jets wide receiver developed quite the rapport with Darnold during their two seasons together in New York. Anderson racked up 102 catches for 1,531 yards and 11 touchdowns in 30 games with the young quarterback throwing him the ball, helping him earn a two-year, $20 million deal in Carolina.
Anderson, now 27, said he was surprised to see that Darnold had been traded to the Panthers on Tuesday. However, he said that the two developed a mutual trust towards the end of their time together in New York and could work on re-building that in 2021.
“I think me and Sam had very good chemistry,” Anderson said in an appearance on NFL Network on Tuesday. “I think that really stems from communication and just trust. I think if you look at the growth between me and Sam, you notice toward the back end of me being with the Jets, him throwing the ball up in double coverage and just throwing the ball up. That came with time and just trust in me making those plays and coming through for him in the clutch.”
Robby Anderson ready to rekindle "very good chemistry" with Sam Darnold. https://t.co/kPq89bG5ML
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 6, 2021
Anderson is fresh off of the best season of his five-year stint in the NFL that saw him post career highs in receptions (95) and yards (1,096). He now hopes to continue that success, while providing Darnold with a more reliable receiving option.
“Me personally speaking, I just think Sam kinda, his development was not correct with the Jets,” he said. “I think he didn’t have the best supporting cast around him, the best coaching to get him to his full potential.”
If Darnold and Anderson can re-establish their past connection, the Panthers offense should feel much better about its passing attack next year.