The Panthers apparently weren’t the only team to check in with the Jets about Sam Darnold before the quarterback was moved out of the Meadowlands.
Carolina on Monday acquired Darnold from New York in exchange for three total draft picks, headlined by a 2022 second-rounder. According to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano, two other franchises — and potentially a third — kicked the tires on the 23-year-old, who the Jets selected with the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Panthers, however, reportedly were far and away the strongest in pursuit of Darnold.
“There were several other teams that had expressed interest in Darnold over the past month or so, including the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers,” Vacchiano wrote. “One source believed that Washington had also called before they signed veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
“It’s unclear if any of them made anything more than preliminary inquiries. It appears that the Panthers were the only team to engage the Jets in substantial talks.”
Vacchiano’s report is in line with a recent nugget from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, who claims the 49ers had some “internal discussion” about Darnold before trading for the third overall pick in this year’s draft. The Broncos could use an upgrade from Drew Lock, but Denver — especially after the Darnold trade — is in position to land one of the top five QB prospects at No. 9 in the draft, if the organization is so inclined.
The Panthers’ deal for Darnold comes one year after the organization signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year contract, but Carolina seemingly is prepared to move on from the latter in due time.