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The true reason the Panthers traded for Sam Darnold

Panthers, Sam Darnold

One of the more interesting offseason moves in the NFL was the Carolina Panthers trading for  Sam Darnold from the New York Jets. Darnold was the number three overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and while he showed flashes of potential, he was primarily underwhelming in New York.

The Panthers could have used their first-round draft pick and other assets in going after one of the highly-rated quarterback prospects this year, but instead used it on corner Jaycee Horn, per Myles Simmons of NBC Sports

Carolina General Manager Scott Fitterer discussed some of the thought process in acquiring Darnold in a segment on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

“We went out and traded for Sam because we saw the talent on tape. We think we can help him,” Fitterer remarked. “We want him to kind of just flush what’s happened. He’s only 23 years old. He played in a big media market, high-round pick. Just come here, let the players down here help you out. We surrounded him with a lot of good talent at receiver, we have the best running back in football, we’re going to have a really strong offensive line, and we’ve added to our defense. All of that plays together.”

As lackluster as Darnold’s stint was with the Jets not all of the problems should be pinned on him. His coaching staff and the supporting cast did not do him any favors. The situation should be different with the Panthers with all the weapons at his disposal. 

“He doesn’t just have to do it by himself. He just has to be Sam and work with [offensive coordinator] Joe [Brady], work with Sean Ryan, our quarterbacks coach. Don’t try to make the big plays, don’t try to go outside of himself. Just play football. Play it fast, play it loose and let the guys make plays with you.”

The new start could be exactly what Darnold needs and exactly the answer the Panthers need at quarterback.