It’s been a rough week for Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, who suffered a significant leg injury during last night’s preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.
The injury, which is being described as a high ankle sprain, is expected to keep Darnold out of action for anywhere between four and six weeks, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
That unfortunate setback happened just days after Darnold learned that he had lost the starting quarterback battle to Baker Mayfield, whom the Panthers had acquired earlier in the offseason in a trade with the Browns.
Now, with Darnold set to miss at least a month of action, the Panthers could be in need of a backup quarterback. Third-round pick Matt Corral has already been placed on injured reserve but they do still have former XFL star PJ Walker on their roster…
Or, there’s always the chance that they give old friend Cam Newton a call to see if he’d be interested in returning to Charlotte.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule was asked about that possibility during his press conference yesterday, and he didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing back Cam.
“Scott and I will talk about that,” Rhule said, referring to Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer. “Obviously, Cam would have to weigh in on that, and there’s be a lot of things we would have to look at. You guys know my feelings on Cam. My time with him was fantastic. But it’s probably too early right now to say much on that.”
Of course, the Panthers tried bringing back Newton last season to help them make a push in the second half of the season. But it didn’t quite work out as planned. Cam had some nice moments early on, accounting for two touchdowns in limited action during his week 10 debut against the Cardinals — which resulted in a 34-10 Panthers victory. But he proceeded to lose his next five starts, making way for Darnold to regain the starting job in week 17.
Baker Mayfield To Lead Panthers Into Week 1
After being given up on in Cleveland, Baker Mayfield found a new home in Carolina in July, when the Browns traded him away for a conditional fifth-round pick. Baker was said to be competing with Darnold for the starting job, and earlier this week he was announced as the winner of that competition.
Despite struggling at times in training camp and practice, Baker has looked awfully sharp in preseason. He completed four of seven attempts for 45 yards in the team’s preseason opener against Washington, before going 9-of-15 for 89 yards and two touchdowns against the Bills last night.
He’ll take his first official snap as a Panther when the team hosts Mayfield’s old club, the Cleveland Browns, in a highly-anticipated week one matchup.