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Where is Sam Darnold? Panthers QB buried on depth chart, but may get opportunity again in 2022

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Where, oh where, is Sam Darnold?

When the Panthers made a trade for the 2018 No. 3 overall pick last season, there was hope that new scenery would help rejuvenate Darnold’s career after a tumultuous stay with the Jets.

As it turns out, that wasn’t exactly the case.

After a year of wishy-washy returns and an injury, Panthers brass decided to hedge against the Darnold bet for 2022, opting to make some major changes to its QB room this past offseason. That didn’t bode well for the passer, who has now found himself out of a job. 

MORE: NFL Week 10 predictions against the spread

If things don’t break his way, then he might find himself out of the NFL, too. Here’s what happened with the 25-year-old quarterback:

Where is Sam Darnold?

If you take a close look at the Panther’s bench on Thursday night, pause the broadcast at just the right time, probably near the Gatorade coolers, you’ll find Sam Darnold.

If you take another hard look down the Panthers’ depth chart, you’ll see that Darnold is resting comfortably in the QB3 spot behind PJ Walker and Baker Mayfield. That’s quite the fall from grace for the 2018 No. 3 overall pick.

After he suffered an ankle injury in the preseason finale, Darnold is now active for the first time in 2022, but he’s third on the depth chart for the Panthers entering the Week 10 matchup vs. the Falcons. Darnold was pushed aside this offseason after the Panthers made a trade for Mayfield, the 2018 No. 1 overall pick.

While there was an open competition between the pair, Mayfield unsurprisingly upended Darnold during the offseason to win the starting job outright. Then, Darnold hurt himself in the final preseason game.

Prior to the trade for Mayfield, the QB room was Darnold and rookie third-round pick Matt Corral. Corral suffered an injury during the preseason, and will miss the entire 2022 season while recovering. 

Darnold’s career hasn’t exactly gone as expected for the former top prospect. After a promising stretch to end his rookie season, two middling years with the Jets (and a regime change) resulted in Darnold being traded to Carolina for a package of picks in 2021.

Now, Darnold is in the last season of his contract and is unlikely to remain with the Panthers. He will, though, get an opportunity with Carolina at some point before the end of the season.

Needless to say, the trade hasn’t exactly worked out for the Panthers. It has, however, worked out for their NFC South rivals. Very well, at that.

Credit: sportingnews.com

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