At the start of the 2022 offseason, the Carolina Panthers seemed determined to forge a relationship with Sam Darnold as the starting quarterback. Fast forward to the end of summer, and Darnold will be lucky enough to play a snap before the middle of the season.
Darnold suffered a high ankle sprain in the preseason and is expected to miss about a month while recovering. With this in mind, the Panthers made an official decision on the status of its composition.
The Panthers announced Thursday that Darnold will start the season on injured reserve. In a corresponding move, they signed veteran kicker Eddie Pinheiro to the active roster.
This move will not allow Darnold to join the active roster until at least the 5th week of the season. Given his injury’s four-week recovery schedule, this should give him enough time to get better.
But the big issue right now is whether Sam Darnold will even play for the Carolina Panthers this season. He lost his place in the starting lineup to Baker Mayfield, whom the team acquired during an exchange earlier this offseason.
With his contract expiring at the end of the year, it seems doubtful the Panthers will re-sign him next season. And if he doesn’t see significant playing time, his chances of getting a major contract in the offseason are pretty slim.
Darnold better hope that he can heal quickly and that Mayfield collapsed in the middle of the season, otherwise the 2023 offseason will be his biggest problem.