Before the 2018 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers were obviously shopping for a quarterback. Recent starter Cam Newton was coming off a season in which he threw for over 4000 yards and over 20 touchdowns, and was heading into the final year of his contract. With the franchise picking up $1.8 million in salary, and $11.7 million in total cap space for this season and the next, the Panthers were still in a position to take a potential franchise quarterback. And that’s exactly what they did, trading up to the number three overall pick to take USC quarterback Sam Darnold.
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The Carolina Panthers may have just made a steal—buying the contract of the quarterback who was recently cut by the New York Giants. The Panthers traded a third and a fifth-round pick for the rights to Josh Rosen, the quarterback who was the 2016 No. 3 overall pick and frequently linked to the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots in trade talks. The trade comes as a surprise, as it marks the first time the Panthers have made an acquisition that involves a quarterback since they selected Cam Newton in 2011.
Josh Allen, a Class of 2018 draft classmate of Sam Darnold, just signed a six-year, $258 million contract deal. Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson, like Allen, are on the verge of signing new contracts after leading their clubs to postseason berths. Darnold is now on his second club, and he seems to be a lot closer to Josh Rosen – who is currently on his sixth NFL squad – than Allen, Mayfield, or Jackson were.
The good news for Darnold is that the Carolina Panthers will give him a genuine opportunity to save his career. He’ll start for the Panthers in Week 1, and the club showed a lot of faith in him by not selecting a quarterback in the most recent draft. To aid Darnold’s success, Carolina also invested in an offensive weapon that he is extremely acquainted with.
In New York, Sam Darnold went from being the third overall selection to being cut.
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images | Robby Anderson and Sam Darnold
The New York Jets selected Sam Darnold out of USC with the third overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, and he immediately established himself as the team’s undisputed starter.
Despite winning his first game, the California native threw an interception on his first NFL throw, and his career went south from there. Darnold only passed for 2,865 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first season, despite starting 13 games. He also threw 15 interceptions, one more than the NFL’s leading passer, Ben Roethlisberger. In 2018, the Jets finished 4-9.
Darnold’s second season was much more disastrous. Darnold caught mononucleosis after losing a heartbreaker against Allen and the Jets’ division foe Buffalo Bills in Week 1. He missed the following three games. Despite his health problems, Darnold’s greatest statistical season would come in 2019, with 3,024 yards, 19 touchdowns, and a 61.9 percent completion rate. He was also 7-6 as a starter.
Despite the fact that his statistics seemed to be OK, Darnold had an unpleasant incident in 2019. It occurred during a Week 6 demolition at the hands of the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. During a 33-0 thrashing, Darnold was captured on video telling coaches, “I’m seeing ghosts,” as the Pats defense intercepted him four passes.
The former Trojan’s 2019 statistics gave him reason to be optimistic about 2020. Darnold and the Jets, on the other hand, were absolutely destroyed. Last season, the quarterback finished 2-10, passing for 2,280 yards and nine touchdowns.
After the season, the Jets released their highly-touted quarterback and selected BYU’s Zach Wilson at No. 2. Darnold was dealt to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round selection and 2022 second- and fourth-round picks.
Former Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson was given a $28.9 million contract extension by the Carolina Panthers.
According to sources, the #Panthers and WR Robby Anderson have come to terms on a two-year, $29.5 million contract that will provide Anderson more guaranteed money and keep him in Carolina. At the age of 30, he’ll be eligible for a fourth deal. The previously undrafted wide receiver cashes in one again. / / / / / / / / /
August 24, 2021 — Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet)
Darnold is receiving assistance from a wide receiver he knew in Charlotte as he attempts to save his NFL career.
In 2016, Robby Anderson entered the league as an undrafted free agent after graduating from Temple. In his first season, he made an immediate impact as an NFL receiver, catching 42 passes for 587 yards and two scores. The next year, he had a career year, catching 63 passes for 941 yards and seven touchdowns.
Anderson had 190 targets over the following two years with Darnold as quarterback, catching 102 passes for 1,531 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The Panthers signed the WR to a two-year, $20 million deal in 2020, and he repaid them with his most productive season ever, with 95 receptions for 1,096 yards. In 2021, his performance earned him a larger contract extension: a new two-year agreement for $28.9 million.
Anderson claims that Darnold is one of the reasons he signed the deal. He explained why he re-signed to ESPN:
Being reunited with a quarterback in whom I have faith and who I know will be present. Everything was pretty much all checkmarks across the board. It’s not just about the money.
Sam Darnold’s contract deal, according to Robby Anderson
Now it’s on to Anderson to not only justify his own deal, but also to get his quarterback back on track in what may be his last NFL opportunity.
Week 1 of Darnold’s vengeance tour begins with a bank.
If Darnold is to develop into the quarterback many draft analysts predicted he would be coming out of college, his season will most likely begin in the greatest possible manner. The Panthers kick off their 2021 season against the Jets in Charlotte.
New York will start Wilson, its new bonus baby, and will be coping with the injury bug, which has ravaged the team this preseason.
Carolina, on the other hand, has a new contract for Anderson and All-Pro running back Christian McCaffery, who is ready to play after an injury-shortened 2020 season. Joe Brady, a former LSU quarterback, is in his second year as the team’s offensive coordinator, while second-round selection Terrace Marshall Jr. (also from Baton Rouge) is receiving great reviews in training camp.
Darnold should be able to avenge his previous club to start the NFL season, as long as he doesn’t see ghosts. After that, he’s surrounded by superior skill players than he was in New Jersey, which may lead to the quarterback finally delivering on his potential. If this occurs, it will be a huge win for the Panthers and yet another QB gaffe by the Jets.
Pro Football Reference provided all stats.
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The Carolina Panthers have spent the past two weeks trying to decide whether they should draft a quarterback in the 2018 NFL draft. Their first pick is at No. 8 overall.. Read more about panthers roster and let us know what you think.
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