Sam Darnold is a Panther now! Now we can continue to argue about him for at least another year. Was it Adam Gase’s fault and the Jets as a whole? Was it that Sam Darnold was overrated? The answer…is yes!

This feels like one of those dumb internet debates where I see both sides of the argument fighting with each other, seemingly unable to realize they more or less agree with each other, outside the fringe weirdos who still think Darnold is secretly Brady waiting to happen or that Darnold was and is a giant pile of irredeemable shit. I do not have a high opinion of Darnold but he’s also a very strong example of “the situation you get drafted into matters”. I am the centrist trash.

In keeping with the post I made about his draftmate Josh Rosen, lets look at how both sides are true and see what the future holds. Sam hasn’t been as screwed over as Rosen has, and he’s shown more flashes, but the extra time in the sun has also given us a better picture of how he sucks.

Does Sam Darnold suck? Sure seems like it. When Sam came out of college the small amount of hesitation around him revolved around poor decision making when under pressure and high turnovers. His experience in the NFL has done nothing to refute those worries. He was considered a big hot prospect but even the Browns decided to go with Baker instead, and have successfully built around him. Sam has had the reigns for 3 years and he’s never shown more than the occasional flash of what could be. Darnold looked worse than 2020 Joe Flacco on the same team. His numbers have gotten worse each season. Normally, after 3 years, you kinda have a decent enough picture of a QB. Ryan Tannehill, the poster boy for “surviving Adam Gase”, was never actually as bad as Sam Darnold has been. Tannehill was mediocre and people constantly expected him to break out every year for a reason. Darnold has been bad. Even with no weapons on a bad team, you can still see a good QB. Nobody thought Joe Burrow was awful this year despite not doing anything spectacular on a garbage team. Justin Herbert won offensive rookie of the year (rightfully) by being amazing on a bad team. Even Daniel Jones has looked better than Darnold so far and you won’t find many people saying he’s any good.

But to deny that the Jets hampered his development and put him in an impossible situation is impossible. Adam Gase was a terrible choice for HC from day one. The team was gutted and the franchise was a wasteland. It is almost a textbook example of how one guy can’t save a franchise. Jets fans acted like they just got Peyton Manning when they drafted Darnold and everything was gonna be okay. I remember the jokes. I REMEMBER, JETS. I don’t know how anyone could have survived the Jets of the past 3 seasons with a positive reputation.

Is Sam gonna be good in Carolina? My guess is no. Is Carolina a better place to be? Sure. Despite their record the Panthers were a tough out last year under Rhule and my opinion on him as a coach is pretty positive. Sam isn’t Teddy. Teddy is a safe boy who likes to treat the ball delicately and only give it a wee toss a few yards at a time. Sam Darnold gives no fucks and will huck that sucker. Hucking that sucker would have probably won the Panthers an extra couple of games last year. But the Panthers aren’t exactly contenders now and the squad around Darnold isn’t all that special. Robby Anderson is good and already works well with Sam, and CMC is good, but this isn’t a competing squad yet. I fully expect Sam to put up some more touchdowns but I feel like he’s going to keep throwing the ball to the other team anyway and still make bonehead decisions.

The biggest question is what is the Panthers plan? Teddy was an obvious first year regime stopgap and nobody would argue otherwise. Why did the Panthers go for Sam now, three weeks from the draft with multiple good QB prospects? Why not draft then trade? Is Sam the guy now in Carolina or are the Panthers just kicking the tires on him and seeing what to do next season? The joke answer is to start Sam all year to ensure they suck and get the next first overall pick but they aren’t that bad. I just don’t know what they are planning. I guess we shall see.