Last week was a whirlwind to say the least for former USC QB Sam Darnold.
Darnold was traded to the Carolina Panthers for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft in addition to second-round and fourth-round picks in the 2022 NFL draft.
Darnold's tenure in New York was nothing but smooth. The young QB struggled to find momentum in a franchise that is entering a total rebuild phase. Starting fresh in Charlotte should be a breath of fresh air, but Darnold admitted on Sunday afternoon in a press conference that he is still sorting out his emotions when it comes to the trade news.
"There's a little bit of both — relief and excitement," Darnold said, per the Panthers' website.
"I imagined I was going to be the franchise quarterback of the New York Jets for a long time. And once you realize that the team that drafted you is moving on, it stings a little bit." [Darnold]
Darnold admitted that the trade news was difficult to receive, but he remains optimistic about the new possibilities in Carolina next season.
"There's been so much uncertainty this offseason, not knowing what your future was going to look like, that was hard. But now that I'm in Charlotte, I'm excited, and yeah, I guess I am kind of relieved to be here." [Darnold]
The San Clemente native played in 12 games with the Jets last season and completed 59.6% of his passes for 2,208 yards and nine touchdowns against 11 interceptions.
Although Darnold's time with New York was rocky, the fourth-year QB should have more success in Carolina if he is able to win the starting job over Teddy Bridgewater and connect with his new targets.
The Panthers have Robby Anderson, fellow Pac-12 alum Christian McCaffrey, and DJ Moore which should provide Darnold with some solid weapons if he can solidify the starting job come August.
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