The Carolina Panthers are officially shopping former third overall draft pick Sam Darnold after acquiring Baker Mayfield via trade. Here are four potential landing spots for Darnold if he is, indeed, traded before the 2022-2023 season begins.
Seattle’s quarterback room consists of Geno Smith, Drew Lock and Jacob Eason. All three of those players have the opportunity to shock the world, but probably will play losing football. Darnold could be a slight upgrade if they want to compete a little bit more in a tough NFC West.
The downside to this trade is that the Seahawks’ roster is not fantastic, and they will likely end up in the bottom half of NFL records, regardless. But, if it doesn’t cost them anything more than a fifth rounder, then it makes sense to at least try.
Davis Mills played well enough last year, but he is far from solidified as the Texans’ next franchise quarterback. In 13 games, Mills threw for 2,664 yards, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Darnold could do that and more if he wins the starting job in Houston.
Houston has plenty of late round draft picks to give up to acquire Darnold, but, much like the Seahawks, he won’t fix any of the systemic issues that will likely make them a cellar-dwelling team. He would be handy to have if Mills regresses, but that’s about it. However, there aren’t a lot of teams that need quarterbacks in any capacity, and the Texans at least come close.
The Commanders got Carson Wentz in the offseason, and have a capable backup (or boderline starter) in Taylor Heinicke. But neither of these options inspire too much confidence, even in a weak division like the NFC East. Adding Darnold to the mix would at least increase the options available if the other two play mediocre football.
Darnold played very well to begin the season, Wentz can still show flashes of greatness (peppered with bouts of confusing mistakes) and Heinicke is solid with a low ceiling. Maybe the way to win the East this year is a sort of quarterback-by-committee, depending on the situation.
It’s been rumored that the Browns will go after Jimmy Garappolo if Deshaun Watson is suspended for the entire season. That may be more expensive than they realize, given that the 49ers will know they are desperate for a starter.
That’s where Darnold could come in. This is an extremely talented roster that could mask Darnold’s shortcomings. The running game is stout and the pass catchers could very well make him look like a top-15 quarterback if he’s lucky. Also, he’ll be much cheaper than Garappolo in a trade. Holding this move back, perhaps, is the irony that the Panthers and Browns would’ve just essentially traded quarterbacks.
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