Sam Darnold

Carolina Panthers
Quarterback #14
Carolina Panthers
Quarterback #14
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Sam Darnold News

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



High ankle sprain confirmed

Coach Matt Rhule described the injury that Darnold suffered in Friday's preseason finale as a "significant" high ankle sprain, David Newton of ESPN reports.

Analysis: Per Rhule, "it is a significant injury that could take some time," while adding that "if it's at least a four-game injury, we can put him on the short-term injured reserve." Given the typical recovery period of high ankle sprains, it's safe to assume that Darnold will miss some regular-season time and if he is indeed placed on IR after roster cut-downs, the Panthers' No. 2 QB would be forced to miss at least four games to begin the upcoming campaign.

Aug 27, 2022 4:20 PM EST


Likely out 4-to-6 weeks

Darnold is expected to be out 4-to-6 weeks after reportedly suffering a high-ankle sprain in Friday's preseason contest, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Darnold appeared to have his ankle rolled up on during Friday's preseason game against the Bills, but the 25-year-old, who lost the starting quarterback job to Baker Mayfield earlier in the week, luckily came away from the injury with only a high-ankle sprain. With Matt Corral (foot) also sidelined for an extended period of time, P.J. Walker is expected to back up Mayfield for however long Darnold is out.

Aug 27, 2022 10:50 AM EST


May have high-ankle sprain

Darnold likely suffered a high left ankle sprain during Friday's preseason game versus Bills, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: The diagnosis follows an initial examination of Darnold's left ankle, which rolled to the inside as he was taken to the turf by a Buffalo defender in the third quarter. He already had lost the Panthers' quarterback competition to Baker Mayfield this week, and Darnold's prospects to be the team's No. 2 signal-caller in Week 1 now have taken a hit. Darnold will undergo an MRI on Saturday to learn the severity of the injury and whether or not there's additional damage in the region. This marks the second significant health concern to impact Carolina's QB room following a season-ending foot injury to rookie third-rounder Matt Corral. With Corral sidelined and Darnold potentially joining him in short order, P.J. Walker is in line to back up Baker Mayfield to begin the 2022 season.

Aug 26, 2022 7:35 PM EST



Gets ruled out with ankle injury

Darnold won't return to Friday's preseason game against the Bills due to a left ankle injury, Darin Gantt of the Panthers' official site reports.

Analysis: In the same week in which he lost Carolina's quarterback battle to Baker Mayfield, Darnold now may be in danger of missing the start of the coming campaign after having his left ankle roll to the inside as he was taken to the ground by a Buffalo defender in the third quarter. Darnold required a cart to go to the locker room, while P.J. Walker replaced him on the team's next possession. With rookie third-rounder Matt Corral (foot) out for the season, Walker is the only healthy signal-caller on the roster behind Mayfield.

Aug 26, 2022 6:58 PM EST


Leaves Friday's game

Darnold needed a cart to go to the locker room after suffering an apparent left ankle injury during Friday's preseason contest versus the Bills, Schuyler Callihan of SI.com reports.

Analysis: While throwing an incompletion, Darnold's left ankle rolled to the inside as he was taken the ground by a Bills defender. He attempted to get to his feet but was unable to put any weight on his left leg, and after trainers checked him out he went to the locker room. In a week in which he lost the Panthers' quarterback battle to Baker Mayfield, Darnold now is in danger of beginning the upcoming season in street clothes instead of in uniform and at the ready if called upon by coach Matt Rhule. With rookie third-round pick Matt Corral (foot) already out for the season, P.J. Walker is the only healthy QB currently on Carolina's roster aside from Mayfield.

Aug 26, 2022 6:50 PM EST


Loses job battle to Mayfield

The Panthers have chosen Baker Mayfield over Darnold as their Week 1 starting quarterback, David Newton of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: The expected outcome was finalized Monday morning, resigning Darnold to a backup role in which his playing time will depend on Mayfield's health and performance. The battle played out on the practice field this summer, with Darnold attempting only three passes through the first two games of the preseason.

Aug 22, 2022 8:57 AM EST


Decision on QB delayed

Coach Matt Rhule wasn't ready to announce the Panthers' starting quarterback between Darnold and Baker Mayfield for Week 1 after Friday's preseason loss in New England, Joe Person of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: There was a belief Rhule would make a decision after the Panthers' second exhibition, but that may have gone out the window when both Mayfield and Darnold were kept out of the game. Rhule's comments imply as much, meaning he likely wants to see another week of prep before deploying the signal-callers next Friday against the Bills.

Aug 19, 2022 7:39 PM EST


Not starting Friday

Neither Darnold nor Baker Mayfield is expected to start Friday's preseason game against New England, with the Panthers resting most of their key players and giving P.J. Walker the start at quarterback, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: This reports suggests Darnold and Mayfield are still battling for the QB job, while Jeff Howe of The Athletic recently reported that Mayfield will be named the starter "when the team is ready to make the announcement." Either way, there's not much doubt Mayfield is the favorite, and Darnold won't have a chance to gain ground Friday night. He does still have practices to make an impression, and could see action in the third and final preseason game next week.

Aug 19, 2022 8:03 AM EST


Limited work in preseason contest

Darnold completed two of three passes for 16 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's 23-21 preseason victory over the Commanders.

Analysis: Darnold played on Carolina's second and third offensive possessions. The former began deep in Washington territory after an Antonio Gibson fumble, which Darnold capped with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Rashard Higgins. Darnold appears to be slightly behind Baker Mayfield in the competition to be the Panthers' starting quarterback in Week 1, but after the game coach Matt Rhule said that no decision has been made to this point, per Schuyler Callihan of SI.com.

Aug 13, 2022 2:22 PM EST


To see about one series Saturday

Coach Matt Rhule said Thursday that Darnold and Baker Mayfield will each play roughly one series apiece during Saturday's preseason game at Washington, Darin Gantt of the Panthers' official site reports.

Analysis: Darnold and Mayfield are in the midst of a quarterback competition, with the latter seeming to take on more of the first-team reps as training camp went on. That said, Rhule didn't announce who will start Saturday, only noting both players will earn 8-to-10 plays. The Panthers aren't expected to name a Week 1 starter between the two until after their second exhibition Friday, Aug. 19 at New England, at the earliest.

Aug 11, 2022 6:14 PM EST


Not being shopped

Darnold was notified Monday by general manager Scott Fitterer that he's not being shopped in trade discussions, Ellis Williams of The Charlotte Observer reports.

Analysis: Darnold has been subject to speculation since the Panthers acquired fellow quarterback Baker Mayfield this offseason. While only one of the signal-callers will earn Carolina's starting job, with Mayfield reportedly emerging as the favorite early on, Darnold was told by Fitterer not to worry about recent chatter regarding a trade. With that assurance, Darnold will hope to put his best foot forward in Saturday's preseason opener versus the Commanders.

Aug 9, 2022 12:01 AM EST


Keeping pace in QB competition

Darnold has been more consistent than Baker Mayfield over the first few days of Carolina's training camp, Darin Gantt of the Panthers' official site reports.

Analysis: Gantt points out that Darnold has likely benefited from having more time in the team's system than Mayfield, who was acquired via trade in July. Mayfield has shown more upside but less consistency thus far. While Mayfield's the consensus favorite to win Carolina's quarterback competition, Darnold won't make it easy to do so.

Aug 1, 2022 10:46 AM EST


Set to compete with Mayfield

Darnold is now in line to compete with Baker Mayfield -- who Carolina traded for Wednesday -- for the team's starting QB job, Darin Gantt of the Panthers' official site reports.

Analysis: Following the deal, Darnold, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, is now set to enter a training camp competition with Mayfield, the top overall selection in that draft. While nothing will be handed to Mayfield, it stands to reason that the Panthers wouldn't have dealt for him had Darnold been viewed as the team's clear-cut answer at quarterback. The 25-year-old is coming off an uneven 2021 campaign -- his first with Carolina -- in which he logged 2,527 passing yards, while compiling a 9:13 TD:INT ratio in 12 games. For his part, Mayfield is reportedly past an injury to his non-throwing shoulder that hampered him last season with the Browns.

Jul 6, 2022 12:37 PM EST


Has competition from Corral

Darnold remains the Panthers' starting quarterback for now, but rookie third-rounder Matt Corral could get an opportunity to play early in his career if Darnold struggles this season, ESPN's David Newton reports.

Analysis: Darnold has not performed up to expectations since entering the league as the second pick four years ago. Even with his change of scenery joining the Panthers last season, Darnold completed under 60 percent of his passes for just nine touchdowns versus 13 interceptions in 12 games. He also lost a pair of fumbles. Although Carolina opting not to trade for Baker Mayfield signals some patience with their quarterback situation, Darnold now has Corral to watch in his rear-view mirror as he approaches the upcoming campaign.

May 1, 2022 4:00 PM EST


Still viewed as starter

Panthers offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said he views Darnold as his starting quarterback, though McAdoo also added, "that is something I shouldn't have said," per David Newton of ESPN.com.

Analysis: The Panthers missed out on Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson, but they could still make a move for Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo, or else bring in an early draft pick to challenge Darnold. Ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft, it's only Darnold and P.J. Walker in the Carolina QB room for the start of the offseason program. Darnold has a guaranteed $18.9 million salary in 2022, the fifth and final year of his rookie contract.

Apr 19, 2022 10:48 AM EST


In the lead for top QB job

GM Scott Fitterer noted Friday that Darnold is currently "in the lead" for the Panthers' starting QB job, ESPN's David Newton reports.

Analysis: That said, less than a month ago Fitterer suggested that the job was "open'' but at this stage P.J. Walker is the only other signal caller on Carolina's roster. With that in mind, Fitterer indicated that the team intends to "add a lot of competition to (the QB) room" while adding he still hopes that Darnold can take the opportunity and run with it. It remains be seen if the Panthers bring in a veteran to compete with Darnold, elect to use a premium draft pick on a young QB, or both, but in the wake of a flurry of movement involvement involving several high-profile players at his position, Darnold, at least for now, remains atop a Carolina depth chart that has yet to be filled out.

Mar 25, 2022 12:21 PM EST


Turns it over twice

Darnold completed 29 of 42 passes for 219 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in Sunday's 41-17 loss to the Buccaneers. He also rushed eight times for 19 yards but lost a fumble.

Analysis: Darnold threw his first touchdown pass since Week 6 by finding tailback Chuba Hubbard for a two-yard score to cap Carolina's opening drive. While he'd later add to his tally with an impressive, 19-yard touchdown to Robby Anderson on a fourth-down play during the fourth quarter, Darnold subsequently coughed the ball up and was picked off. In truth, the 24-year-old's first season with the Panthers was marred by turnovers, as Darnold was intercepted 13 times and lost two fumbles in 12 games played. Compared to just nine touchdown passes and five rushing scores, most of which came over the first four weeks, Darnold's underwhelming totals coincided with diminishing returns. With Carolina picking up his fifth-year option prior to the campaign, however, Darnold is under contract for next season. Whether he ultimately remains the starter or not, his decline as this season unfolded dampens his stock's outlook as he now embarks on the offseason.

Jan 9, 2022 5:16 PM EST


Expected to start in Week 18

Coach Matt Rhule said Monday that he expects Darnold to start Sunday against the Buccaneers, David Newton of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: Darnold started in Sunday's Week 17 loss to the Saints and completed 17 of 26 passes for 132 yards and an interception. Rhule said that Cam Newton will be available once again after playing one offensive snap against New Orleans, and the 32-year-old's most likely path toward playing time is through red zone duties. However, Darnold should be in line to handle the majority of the snaps again.

Jan 3, 2022 9:17 AM EST


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