Sam Darnold

Carolina Panthers
Quarterback #14
Carolina Panthers
Quarterback #14

Sam Darnold News

Poor Week 18 performance

Darnold completed just 5 of 15 passes for 43 yards and two interceptions in Sunday's 10-7 win over the Saints. He also rushed six times for 32 yards.

Analysis: Darnold struggled mightily in the passing game, averaging under three yards per attempt while turning the ball over twice. The signal-caller also fumbled twice but was fortunate not to lose either. In fact, offensive lineman Michael Jordan recovered one of Darnold's fumbles for a touchdown during the third quarter. After being sidelined with a preseason ankle injury, Darnold played just six games this term, completing only 82 of 140 passes for seven touchdowns versus three interceptions. While he also scored a couple times on the ground, it's unclear where Darnold -- an unrestricted free agent this offseason -- will ply his trade during the 2023 campaign and whether he'll get another chance to start after underwhelming stints with the Jets and Panthers since being drafted third overall in 2018.

Jan 8, 2023 2:23 PM EST

Turnovers sully big numbers

Darnold completed 23 of 37 passes for 341 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in the Panthers' 30-24 loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday. He also rushed five times for 20 yards and committed three fumbles, losing two.

Analysis: The big passing numbers and three touchdowns were highly pleasing to fantasy managers, but from a real-world football perspective, Darnold help sink the Panthers' chances with his ball security issues. Darnold did continue to show excellent chemistry with DJ Moore, hitting his favorite receiver on a team-high six occasions for 117 yards and a second-quarter touchdown. The 2018 third overall pick also connected with Tommy Tremble (17 yards) and Shi Smith (19 yards) for his other two scores, but his two fumbles led to a total of 10 Buccaneers points. The Panthers are eliminated from postseason contention with the defeat, but Darnold will have a chance to make one more case for starting consideration in 2023 when Carolina closes out the season against the Saints on the road in Week 18.

Jan 1, 2023 2:27 PM EST

Impressive numbers in win

Darnold completed 15 of 22 passes for 250 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in the Panthers' 37-23 win over the Lions on Saturday. He also rushed six times for 19 yards and another score.

Analysis: Darnold averaged an impressive 11.4 yards per attempt and while turning in his fourth straight interception-free effort. The 2018 third overall pick also upped his completion percentage for the fourth consecutive contest, and although the ground game took center stage Saturday, Darnold impressively connected with seven different pass catchers overall. With the Panthers firmly in the mix for the NFC South crown, Darnold will have an opportunity to play a pivotal role once again in what will be a critical Week 17 road matchup against the Buccaneers on Sunday, Jan. 1.

Dec 24, 2022 2:34 PM EST

Touchdown toss in loss

Darnold completed 14 of 23 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 24-16 loss to the Steelers.

Analysis: Darnold opened Carolina's scoring by finding top wideout DJ Moore for a five-yard touchdown while on the run. Although he was sacked four times Sunday, Darnold still managed to make a few big plays in the passing game, including two gains of at least 40 yards. Without a turnover in his three appearances this season, Darnold will strive to maintain his clean play in Week 16 versus the Lions.

Dec 18, 2022 1:44 PM EST

Throws TD in win

Darnold completed 14 of 24 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 30-24 win over the Seahawks. He also rushed three times for 31 yards.

Analysis: Darnold found Shi Smith for a 13-yard touchdown during the first quarter, but he otherwise struggled to produce much in the passing game. In fact, top wideout DJ Moore finished the game without a single catch. Despite that situation, Darnold salvaged some value as a runner thanks to a team-long gain of 26 yards on the ground. With a road victory to boot, he figures to maintain his starting job going into Week 15's matchup versus the Steelers.

Dec 11, 2022 5:17 PM EST

Earns another start after win

Darnold completed 11 of 19 passes for 164 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in Sunday's 23-10 win over the Broncos. He added three rushes for three yards and a touchdown.

Analysis: The Panthers relied heavily on their run game and asked Darnold to manage the game in his first appearance of the season. He did so effectively, leading an 11-play, 71-yard drive late in the first quarter capped by a five-yard touchdown pass to DJ Moore. Darnold also concluded the Panthers' first drive of the second half with a quarterback sneak on which he recovered his own fumble in the end zone for his rushing touchdown. Though the team has had trouble finding a consistent starter under center this season, coach Steve Wilks has already committed to Darnold as the starter once the Panthers come out of their bye in Week 14, per Steve Reed of the Associated Press.

Nov 27, 2022 2:16 PM EST

Getting chance to start in Week 12

Interim coach Steve Wilks announced Tuesday that Darnold will start Sunday's game against the Broncos, Darin Gantt of the Panthers' official site reports.

Analysis: With Darnold swapping in for Baker Mayfield, Carolina will be on its third starting quarterback in any as many contests Week 12 with PJ Walker currently dealing with a high-ankle sprain. Darnold dealt with the same injury himself and spent the first 10 weeks of the season on IR, but he'll now get his chance to direct the offense. In 12 appearances (11 starts) for the Panthers during the 2021 campaign, he completed 60 percent of his passes, averaged 210.6 yards per game and tossed nine touchdowns versus 13 interceptions while fumbling nine times (four were lost).

Nov 22, 2022 1:06 PM EST

Could play some this week?

Coach Steve Wilks said he'd like to give Darnold some snaps in a game before giving him another chance to start, David Newton of reports.

Analysis: Baker Mayfield will start Sunday's game in Baltimore, with Darnold serving as the backup and P.J. Walker (ankle) missing the first of what likely will be multiple games. The possibility of Darnold getting some snaps hurts Mayfield's already-limited value, though we already know an in-game benching is one of the possibilities with any starting QB for Carolina this year.

Nov 16, 2022 11:55 AM EST

Set for backup role with Walker out

Darnold is expected to back up Baker Mayfield against the Ravens on Sunday, as Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that fellow Panthers quarterback P.J. Walker has a high ankle sprain.

Analysis: Interim coach Steve Wilks has named Mayfield the Week 11 starter, while Darnold should have the opportunity to dress for the first time this season after beginning the campaign on injured reserve due to a high ankle sprain of his own. Mayfield was benched earlier this season, so he could be on a short leash with Darnold waiting in the wings against Baltimore.

Nov 14, 2022 10:05 AM EST

Inactive Thursday

Darnold is inactive for Thursday's game against the Falcons, Darin Gantt of the Panthers' official site reports.

Analysis: Darnold was activated from injured reserve Monday after missing the first nine games of the campaign due to a left high-ankle sprain that he sustained late in the preseason. That said, he'll be a healthy scratch Thursday, while PJ Walker gets the nod under center for Carolina and Baker Mayfield serves as the backup. Considering both Walker and Mayfield have received starts this season, Darnold may not be long for one himself if Walker and Mayfield stumble and interim coach Steve Wilks opts to make a change.

Nov 10, 2022 3:59 PM EST

Comes off IR

Carolina reinstated Darnold (ankle) from injured reserve Monday, Darin Gantt of the Panthers' official site reports.

Analysis: Now that he's made a full recovery from the left high-ankle sprain he sustained in the Panthers' preseason finale in late August, Darnold will join a Carolina quarterback room that became even more unsettled during Sunday's 42-21 loss to the Bengals. While making his fourth consecutive start, PJ Walker threw two interceptions and completed just three of 10 pass attempts before being benched at halftime. Though Baker Mayfield performed well in relief over the final two quarters, he completed only 54.9 percent of his throws for 6.3 yards per attempt while starting Carolina's first five games before losing the job due to injury. The addition of Darnold, who turned in 11 mostly underwhelming starts for Carolina in 2021, further complicates the Panthers' plans at quarterback. For his part, interim head coach Steve Wilks has yet to name a starter for the team's Week 10 game against the Falcons on Thursday, nor is it known which of the three signal-callers on the 53-man roster will serve as the top backup.

Nov 7, 2022 6:36 AM EST

Drawing close to full health

Darnold said Wednesday that he's "close to 100 percent" following the high left-ankle sprain he suffered in the Panthers' preseason finale, Steve Reed of the Associated Press reports.

Analysis: Carolina designated Darnold for return from injured reserve on Oct. 19, so the team has until next Tuesday to get him back on the active roster. Still, even if he's available this Sunday at Cincinnati, he won't be an option to start under center, as PJ Walker will fill that capacity for a fourth consecutive contest, with Baker Mayfield serving as his backup. As a result, there's no telling when (or if) Darnold will have a chance to receive in-game reps.

Nov 2, 2022 12:45 PM EST

Won't start if activated

Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks said that PJ Walker will start Sunday's game in Atlanta, regardless of the health of Darnold (ankle) and Baker Mayfield (ankle), Joe Person of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Darnold hasn't been available for the Panthers' first seven games while recovering from the left ankle sprain he suffered in the team's preseason finale, but he appeared to be a candidate for the starting gig once he was deemed ready to return from injured reserve. The 25-year-old has a week of practice under his belt and could be activated from IR before the Week 8 contest if his ankle responds well to the Panthers' upcoming workouts, but even in that scenario, Darnold won't be available in anything more than a No. 2 capacity with Wilks handing Walker a third straight start after Walker played mistake-free football while guiding Carolina to a 21-3 upset over Tampa Bay in Week 7. Walker likely won't have a long leash on the starting role, and Mayfield was one of the NFL's worst-performing starters through the first five weeks of the campaign before missing the last two contests with his own injury, so the door isn't closed on Darnold getting a chance to run the Carolina offense before season's end.

Oct 24, 2022 11:32 AM EST

Won't play this week

Coach Steve Wilks said Darnold (ankle) looked good in his return to practice Wednesday but won't be available for Sunday's game against Tampa Bay, Joe Person of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Darnold's return to practice opens a 21-day window to be moved back to the active roster or placed on injured reserve for the rest of the year. It'll almost certainly be the first outcome, and there's even potential for Darnold to make starts soon given that Baker Mayfield has played poorly and now is dealing with an ankle injury. Wilks named P.J. Walker as his Week 7 starter and Jacob Eason as the backup QB.

Oct 19, 2022 12:12 PM EST

Designated to return from IR

Darnold (ankle) has been designated to return from injured reserve and will be able to practice Wednesday, Darin Gantt of the Panthers' official site reports.

Analysis: With that, Darnold -- who suffered an ankle injury during the team's preseason finale on Aug. 26 -- now has a 21-day window in which to practice and in the absence of any setbacks, the signal caller is now a candidate to be added to the Panthers' 53-man roster. It remains to be seen if that might happen in advance of Week 7 action, but the timing of Darnold's return to the field is good, with Baker Mayfield still dealing with an ankle injury and PJ Walker having sustained a neck injury this past Sunday against the Rams.

Oct 19, 2022 9:49 AM EST

Expected to come off IR this week

Interim coach Steve Wilks expects Darnold (ankle) to come off injured reserve and practice this week, though he's unsure if Darnold can get up to speed quickly enough to face the Buccaneers on Sunday, Darin Gantt of the Panthers' official site reports.

Analysis: Darnold has been on injured reserve since suffering a high-ankle sprain prior to the season. Once cleared for game action, Darnold could quickly be handed the starting role given the injuries to Baker Mayfield (ankle) and P.J. Walker (neck), which has left Jacob Eason as Carolina's top healthy quarterback.

Oct 17, 2022 12:41 PM EST

Could return next week

Darnold (ankle) won't be available for Sunday's game at the Rams but could be back for Week 7 against the Buccaneers, Mike Kaye of The Charlotte Observer reports.

Analysis: It's become a matter of interest with Baker Mayfield struggling and now nursing a high-ankle sprain. The Panthers haven't ruled Mayfield out for Week 6, but it is the most likely outcome, in which case P.J. Walker will get the start. Darnold is finishing up his rehab from a high-ankle sprain that was more severe than Mayfield's.

Oct 12, 2022 12:05 PM EST

Not ready for return yet

Darnold (ankle) is still not close to returning from IR, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Analysis: Darnold is technically already eligible to come off IR, but Schefter reports a source saying it's ""going to be a while" before he's healthy enough to retake the field. When Darnold initially suffered the left high-ankle sprain late August, he was given a recovery timetable of 4-to-6 weeks. Once back to full health, it's possible that Darnold could push to enter Carolina's starting lineup, at least if the quality of Baker Mayfield's play doesn't begin to improve.

Oct 3, 2022 8:44 AM EST

Out of walking boot

Darnold (ankle) ditched the walking boot on his left foot as of Thursday, Joe Person of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Darnold suffered a high ankle sprain during the Panthers' preseason finale on Aug. 26 and received a recovery timetable of 4-to-6 weeks at the time of the injury. The team subsequently placed him on IR last Thursday, ruling him out for at least the first four games of the campaign. While Darnold continues his rehab, Baker Mayfield will direct Carolina's offense with P.J. Walker serving as the backup quarterback.

Sep 8, 2022 10:41 AM EST

Officially on IR

The Panthers placed Darnold (ankle) on injured reserve Thursday, Darin Gantt of the team's official site reports.

Analysis: Coach Matt Rhule said Darnold will miss "at least four weeks" while recovering from a left high-ankle sprain suffered in last Friday's preseason finale, so his placement on injured reserve was inevitable. The move opens up a roster spot for kicker Eddy Pineiro. Darnold will be eligible to return Week 5 versus the 49ers, at the earliest. For now, Carolina will roll with P.J. Walker as the backup to starter Baker Mayfield.

Sep 1, 2022 9:24 AM EST

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