title iconDarnold unconcerned about Panthers pursuing other quarterbacks

CHARLOTTE, N.C

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers have been looking for a replacement for starting quarterback Sam Darnold, but he has no concerns. As Darnold, 24, said on the "Bussin' with the Boys" podcast created by Tennessee Titans tackle Taylor Lewan and free-agent linebacker Will Compton, "whatever happens happens.". I feel confident enough in myself to be able to say, "I know I can be a good quarterback in this league. I have proven it."And I know that if something happens, there is a team that would want me."Darnold, who was the third pick of the 2018 draft, acknowledged that what the Panthers did has hurt his ego, but said he is ready to face whatever comes his way. The Carolina Panthers' general manager recently said the starting job was "open." The team pursued Watson so much that it offered three first-round picks, at least one player, and another draft pick for a quarterback facing 22 civil suits involving sexual misconduct.

Mississippi quarterback Matt Corral

Watson was ultimately acquired by the Cleveland Browns for three first-round picks (2022, '23, '24), a third-round pick (2023), and two fourth-round picks (2022, 2024). Additionally, Watson signed a record $530 million, five-year contract. The Panthers, who own the No. 6 overall pick in this year's draft, spent the next week attending the pro days of Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett, Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, and Mississippi quarterback Matt Corral.

Fitterer concluded those visits by saying Darnold was "in the lead for the job," but did not rule out selecting one of them with the sixth pick. At the end of the day, someone has to answer for whatever decision is made at quarterback, Darnold said. We will wait to hear from them if anything like that happens. The GM. The coach. In a trade with the Jets last April, the Panthers acquired Darnold for a sixth-round pick in 2021 and a second-and a fourth-round pick in 2022.

Darnold won his first three starts for the Panthers

After going 13-25 in three years with the Jets, Darnold won his first three starts for the Panthers. After finishing 4-7 and missing six games while recovering from a shoulder injury, he again ranked as one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL. Cam Newton, the Panthers' top pick in 2011, who was released in 2020 shortly after Matt Rhule was hired, was brought back while he was out.Fitterer and Rhule haven't ruled out bringing back Newton, who went 0-5 as the starter. Newton was a valuable teammate for Darnold, who said he learned a lot from him. As Darnold said, "He was a great guy." "I had the pleasure of being in his quarterback room. He has unmatched energy that is hard to compare. And then, when I came back, he was a great guy."I don't have anything bad to say about Cam."He has been careful not to say anything negative about the Jets or their fans who booed him the past four years. In his words, his time in New York helped prepare him to deal with the criticism he is receiving now.

The critics bothered him

The critics bothered him, but he did admit some of them." It really pisses me off when people judge my game, like how I play," he said. I'm like, 'Go strap it up.' I'm [like], 'You're a fan, and I respect you as one. You don't have to worry about me, but take it easy.'"You want to say stuff like that, but you can't." "What if I told you, 'The house you just built is a piece of junk. You're such a lousy tiler that you should really consider getting another job.'"

When the Jets made the trade and picked quarterback Zach Wilson with the second pick of the 2021 draft, Darnold said they were "making a mistake."In the end, he said, it was not his decision. It is what it is if they don't think I'm the guy."Now Darnold could be back in that position at Carolina. Ben McAdoo, the team's new offensive coordinator, said he was still learning his system. "We're still learning the system," he said.