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Did the Panthers acquire Sam Darnold to be a one-year rental?

GM Scott Fitterer’s mixed messaging creating ‘very messy’ situation in Carolina, says newspaper.

New York Jets v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers’ recent acquisition of former New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is now being referred to as a “messy situation,” according to one media outlet.

The New York Post recently ran a story questioning general manager Scott Fitterer’s mixed messaging over his commitment to his new quarterback.

When Fitterer sent three draft picks to the Jets — a second, fourth and sixth — the Panthers indicated that they planned to exercise Darnold’s $18.5 million contract option.

Now Fitterer says the team won’t decide on Darnold’s fifth-year option for the 2022 season until after the 2021 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday.

The Post says it’s “either a reconsideration or a draft smokescreen.”

Granted, most teams wait until after the draft has concluded to pick up fifth-year options. The deadline to pick up fifth-year options on all of the 2018 first-round draft picks is May 3, four months before the beginning of each player’s fourth season.

Still, it seems curious why the Panthers wouldn’t come out and commit to the guy many expected would be the pigskin-thrower for at least the next few years.

Evidently, the Panthers just aren’t committing to that at the moment.

Declining Darnold’s option means he can leave in free agency or the team needs to negotiate a long-term extension sooner than expected. The Panthers could also use the highly expensive franchise tag to keep him around, noted the Post.

Fitterer openly discussing quarterback prospects

While Darnold hasn’t yet proved himself as a top-10 NFL starter, it may come as a mild surprise that Fitterer is being open about potentially drafting a quarterback.

“There’s actually several of them that we’re excited about,” Fitterer said of the quarterbacks. “But we’re not going to get into exactly who.”

If they do, writes the Post, “then the writing is on the wall not to pick up Darnold’s option.”

However, the newspaper feels it’s more of a bluff to create a trade market for the pick.

“I think you always learn from experiences you have, and it’s not just quarterbacks,” Fitterer said, offering relatively little.

“It’s every position. I believe in bringing in the best players that can fit your team, create competition and upgrade your roster. So whether it’s a quarterback, a corner, it doesn’t matter. It’s how do they fit our team, what’s the path for success and what’s our plan.”

Should the Panthers draft a quarterback it should make for some serious drama around training camp.


Should the Panthers pick up Darnold’s fifth-year option?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Duh. We just gave up three picks for the guy.
    (687 votes)
  • 40%
    No, let’s wait and see what he does this year first before committing longer.
    (625 votes)
  • 14%
    I’m undecided.
    (216 votes)
1528 votes total Vote Now