New GM Scott Fitterer was aiming to make a splash in his first year in his new role, and he sure accomplished just that.
In exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 draft plus a second and fourth-round pick in the 2022 draft, the Panthers get a young QB in Sam Darnold, who is looking for a bit of a fresh start in the Queen City. After being selected 3rd overall by the New York Jets in 2018, the USC quarterback has thrown for 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions while bolstering a career 13-25 record.
Now, the numbers don't necessarily jump off the page at anybody but the struggles are not all to blame on Sam. The Jets offensive line was abysmal throughout their 2020 campaign ranking 29th in the NFL according to PFF and had the worst pressure rate in the NFL allowing a pressure in 2.5 seconds or less on 28% of dropbacks - not a situation that many would consider ideal by any means. Darnold will certainly have to prove himself on this year's roster and win games in a hurry to be considered a long-term option.
Teddy Bridgewater had a lackluster campaign in 2020, throwing for 3,733 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Missing his top weapon in Christian McCaffrey for a large part of the season certainly did not help. However, this league is a production-based business, and going 4-11 as a starting QB won't buy you much time in the NFL. Trade rumors have already surfaced, as it looks as the Panthers are allowing Teddy to seek a trade destination with another team. However only time will tell if Sam or Teddy were the best options for this 2021 Panthers squad.
It goes without saying that bringing Sam Darnold into the quarterback room in Charlotte certainly gives new light to a young and hungry team. Fans across the NFL will now anxiously wait to see if Darnold is a legitimate QB in this league, or if he's not what many had panned him out to be.