Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers
Sam Darnold #14 of the Carolina Panthers looks on before the preseason game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField on August 13, 2022 in Landover, Maryland. Scott Taetsch/Getty Images


  • Sam Darnold lost the starting quarterback role to Baker Mayfield
  • Darnold feels no ill will towards the Carolina Panthers
  • He is entering the final year of his rookie-scale contract

The start of the 2022 NFL season is right around the corner and as preseason quickly winds down, there are about a handful of teams who have yet to settle their quarterback situation.

The Carolina Panthers were on that list until recently after promoting former Cleveland Brown play-caller Baker Mayfield to the role, relegating last year's starter Sam Darnold to the bench as a backup for the first time in his career.

Darnold spoke with the media about the change and was not entirely pleased with the situation, but he was understanding enough to put the Panthers' overall success before his own.

"For me, personally, it sucks, to be quite honest. It's just tough whenever you go into camp battling for a starting job, putting everything out there to be the starter and it doesn't go your way. There's no sense of relief or anything like that for me," Darnold said.

"I'm just gonna continue to come in here every single day and get better and, like I said before, help Baker [Mayfield], give him everything he needs to go out there and perform."

Darnold was selected third overall by the New York Jets in 2018 and the franchise's CEO Christopher Johnson was extremely high on him being their quarterback, even going so far as to proclaim that he will mark a shift in the Jets' fortunes.

However, it now appears that Johnson overestimated Darnold's skillset as he failed to lead the Jets to relevancy and only had one winning season (7-6) in his sophomore season before being traded to Carolina last season.

The saying "hindsight is always 20/20" applies to Darnold's time in New York as other quarterbacks like Josh Allen (seventh overall) and Lamar Jackson (32nd overall) were very much available then.

"We were fighting for the starting job. Every day was our game day out there during camp, especially as we got into these last couple weeks... Obviously, it didn't go my way. My mindset is it is what it is," Darnold later added.

The Southern Carolina product is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is set to earn $18.8 million this season, but it remains to be seen whether he will re-sign with the Panthers after the Mayfield acquisition.

Mike Sando of The Athletic ranked him 32nd out of 35 quarterbacks and placed him in Tier 4, meaning that the pundit still sees potential in Darnold but might not be enough to warrant a consistent starting role.

While Darnold could have acted bitter with Panthers head coach Matt Rhule's decision, he has continued to carry himself with dignity and his presence should help Mayfield transition well into the role.

Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield
Sam Darnold #14 of the Carolina Panthers and Baker Mayfield #6 warm up before the preseason game between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium on August 19, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer/`Getty Images