It seems like a week hasn’t gone by this NFL offseason without rumors or speculation surrounding a starting quarterback.
Several of the top quarterbacks in the league today could be on the move at any time, and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.
Now after tons of speculation and rumors, this starting quarterback has finally been traded.
In an offseason where starters like Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff, and Carson Wentz have already been traded, and others like Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, and Jimmy Garoppolo could easily be on the move, the NFL rumor mill has been working overtime.
Teams like the Carolina Panthers and others have been rumored to be searching far and wide for a trade partner that they can convince to part ways with a starting quarterback.
The Panthers specifically have been connected to seemingly every starter that’s even moderately available, proving they’re desperate to upgrade their quarterback depth chart.
But on Monday, they finally landed the starting quarterback they’ve been searching for.
Three years after he was dubbed the savior of their franchise, the New York Jets have traded Sam Darnold to the Panthers in exchange for three draft picks – a 2021 sixth-rounder, a 2022 second-rounder, and a 2022 fourth-rounder.
For the Jets, the move makes total sense.
Darnold hasn’t lived up to the expectations that were levied upon him when he was drafted, and while they’re in the midst of yet another rebuild, they might as well take advantage of the second overall pick they have in this year’s draft and take a shot on another young quarterback with potential.
But for the Panthers, the move does raise a lot of questions about what exactly they’re looking to do.
When there were rumors suggesting the Panthers were looking to do whatever it takes to land Watson, Wilson, or Garoppolo, it was clear they were looking to replace current starter Teddy Bridgewater with a more proven veteran with a higher ceiling.
With the acquisition of Darnold, though, the Panthers seem to have just added another average quarterback to compete with the equally average Bridgewater – that is, if Bridgewater actually wants to stay with the team after this move.
And if Darnold is unable to realize the potential he appeared to have coming into the league, the Panthers could be stuck as a mediocre franchise for years to come.
At the same time, the price the Panthers paid to acquire Darnold was rather low, and if he just needs a fresh start away from the New York circus to become the quarterback many thought he could be, then the move could be totally worth it.
As with most low risk, high reward propositions, we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out for the team.
There isn’t much middle ground here – the move is either going to blow up in their face, or be their saving grace.
For their sake, the Panthers better hope it’s the latter.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.