Not much has gone right for the Carolina Panthers so far this season, and that trend continued in Week 9 when they were destroyed by the Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 42-21. Interim head coach Steve Wilks decided to end the P.J. Walker hype train by replacing him with Baker Mayfield midway through this game, and while Mayfield looked OK, it’s clear Carolina’s quarterback situation is fluid.
That became even more apparant early on Monday morning when the Panthers announced they were activating Sam Darnold off of the injured reserve, adding a third quarterback to the mix in Carolina. Darnold picked up an ankle injury in preseason and hasn’t played at all this season, but it looks like he’s expected to see the field in the second half of the season.
“The Panthers activated quarterback Sam Darnold and he should play some down the stretch. Part of the evaluation for next season.”
This only adds to the intrigue surrounding the Panthers quarterback room this season. After declaring Mayfield the starter to open the season, he struggled mightily, suffered an ankle injury of his own, and ended up losing the starting job to Walker. But Walker struggled in Week 9 against the Bengals, opening things back up for Mayfield and Darnold.
How Carolina handles this situation throughout the rest of the season will be interesting to watch, as they don’t really have a clear course of action here. Neither Mayfield nor Walker have performed well enough to justify being a starter moving forward, and Darnold’s track record isn’t great either. Whatever happens, the Panthers have a compelling storyline to follow in the midst of a lost season, and their quarterback competition will be worth keeping an eye on over the second half of the season.