Jordan Palmer, the former NFL quarterback and current trainer who works with a number of the league’s young signal callers, recorded Darnold’s reaction when he walked in the door to find friends had put up Panthers-colored balloons. Darnold immediately starts gesturing as if to pump everyone up, as music blared.
Then, as if being drafted all over again, he puts on a Carolina Panthers cap. It does signal a restart to Darnold’s career, after a rough first three years under Todd Bowles and then Adam Gase.
Carolina was one of the many teams rumored to be after a quarterback with their early first-round pick. Instead, they send a sixth-rounder and future second and fourth-round selections to the New York Jets, to take a flier on a talented young player who will turn just 24 this offseason.
Sam Darnold is excited to be in Carolina.
— John Ellis (@OnePantherPlace) April 6, 2021
Darnold struggled mightily in 2020. He led the New York Jets to a record of just 2-10 in 12 starts, completing under 60-percent of his throws.
His 2,208 yards, nine touchdowns, and 2.5-percent touchdown rate were all career lows. His threw more interceptions (11) than touchdowns for the first time in his career. His yards per attempt (6.1) and adjusted yards per attempt (5.2) were also by far the lowest marks of his career.
With the Carolina Panthers, he’ll have the most talented offense he’s played with at this point in his career. Christian McCaffrey is one of the league’s best running backs, and the receiver duo of Robby Anderson, a former teammate of Sam Darnold, and D.J. Moore is one of the better combos in the NFL. If Sam Darnold has a future as a franchise quarterback, Carolina is a good place to prove it.