Panthers acting as if Sam Darnold’s season is over

Cam Newton’s stint with the Panthers could be longer than the rest of this season.

The team is acting as if Sam Darnold will be out for the rest of this season, according to ESPN. If so, Newton could reportedly make himself the favorite to start in 2022 by playing well. 

The Panthers signed their former MVP to a one-year deal on the basis that Darnold would miss 4-6 weeks, but of course there’s no reason he couldn’t re-sign in free agency if things work out. P.J. Walker will start for the Panthers on Sunday, but the plan is for Newton to take over once he grasps the playbook and gets into playing shape, which could be as soon as Week 11 against Washington.

Darnold struggled badly this season after the Panthers traded a second-round pick to the Jets to get him. The former No. 3 overall pick threw for a league-leading 11 interceptions with just seven touchdowns before getting placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

Cam Newton and Sam Darnold.
AP; Getty Images

Carolina has lost four of its last five games, as Darnold has unraveled, but is still in the mix for a postseason berth at 4-5 entering Week 10.

According to ESPN, Newton’s contract has $4 million in incentives tied to the postseason. That’s on top of what is, in essence, $6 million in guaranteed money.

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