Aug 19, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) on the sideline as they take on the New England Patriots in the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers designate QB Sam Darnold to return from IR

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold and defensive tackle Bravvion Roy were designated to return from injured reserve on Wednesday.

The moves open a 21-day practice window for Darnold and Roy to be placed on the 53-man roster. They can be returned to the active roster at any time.

Darnold, 25, was injured in Carolina’s final preseason game after Buffalo Bills defensive tackle C.J. Brewer rolled over his left foot. Darnold was carted off the field.

Fellow quarterback Baker Mayfield is nursing an ankle injury and sat out the Panthers’ 24-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday. PJ Walker sustained a neck injury in that contest.

Mayfield, 27, has completed a career-low 54.9 percent of his passes for just 962 yards, with four touchdowns against four interceptions in five games this season.

Darnold threw for 2,527 yards with nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games last season for the Panthers.

He has completed 59.8 percent of his passes with 54 touchdowns and 52 picks in 50 career games with the New York Jets and Panthers. He was selected by the Jets with the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Roy, 26, was placed on injured reserve after hurting his hamstring in Week 2.

He has two tackles in two games this season and 61 to go along with one sack in 34 career contests with the Panthers.

–Field Level Media

Aug 26, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Trainers attend to Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Panthers QB Sam Darnold not close to returning

Carolina Panthers backup quarterback Sam Darnold is eligible to come off injured reserve this week, however ESPN reported Monday that it’s “going to be a while” before he can return from the high-ankle sprain he suffered in August.

Darnold was placed on IR on Sept. 1, with the team saying he was expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks. It’s looking to be the higher end of that estimate, at least, per the report.

The Panthers fell to 1-3 on Sunday behind an ineffective Baker Mayfield, cranking up the rumor mill about a quarterback change. Panthers coach Matt Rhule declined to speculate on that.

“I don’t have any thoughts on anything moving forward yet,” Rhule said Sunday. “I don’t know anything in terms of anybody health wise so I can’t make any comments on that. I think for me right now, obviously, we are going to go back. We are going to watch the tape. We are going to try to get these things corrected.”

Darnold, 25, was injured in the team’s final preseason game when Buffalo Bills defensive tackle C.J. Brewer rolled over his left foot. He was carted off the field.

Mayfield, 27, has completed 54.7 percent of his passes for a meager 747 yards, with four touchdowns against three interceptions in four games as the starter.

Darnold was 4-7 as the Panthers’ starter in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Aug 26, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Trainers attend to Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers QB Sam Darnold on IR, to miss at least four weeks

The Carolina Panthers placed quarterback Sam Darnold on injured reserve Thursday, making him eligible to return from a high-ankle sprain in the fifth week of the season.

There’s a chance he could be ready to return by then, coach Matt Rhule said Wednesday following practice.

“We think it’s four to six (weeks). There was a lot of concern that it would be six to eight,” Rhule said of the injury. “They did additional testing and the great news is it didn’t have some of the structural issues that can maybe sometimes come with that injury. So it should be about four to six weeks.”

Darnold, 25, was injured on Friday in the team’s preseason finale when Buffalo Bills defensive tackle C.J. Brewer rolled over his left foot. Darnold completed 5 of 11 passes for 49 yards and added a 1-yard rushing touchdown before the injury.

He was carted off the field.

Baker Mayfield will quarterback the Panthers in the season opener against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 11. PJ Walker will back him up.

–Field Level Media

Aug 26, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) lays on the field during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers QB Sam Darnold (ankle) to miss 4-6 weeks

Carolina Panthers backup quarterback Sam Darnold will miss at least four weeks with the high-ankle sprain he sustained in the team’s final preseason game on Friday.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule said Monday that Darnold would miss “at least” four weeks and up to six weeks. P.J. Walker will back up Panthers starter Baker Mayfield to open the season.

Darnold will have to be kept on the 53-man roster through Tuesday’s cutdown deadline to remain eligible to return from injured reserve after four games.

Darnold, a fifth-year NFL QB, was carted off the field after the injury in the third quarter of Friday night’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

Darnold was in the process of throwing an incomplete pass when Bills defensive tackle C.J. Brewer pulled him down, causing Darnold’s ankle to twist unnaturally under Brewer’s weight.

Darnold completed 5 of 11 passes for 49 yards and added a 1-yard rushing touchdown before the injury.

The Panthers host Mayfield’s former team, the Cleveland Browns, in Week 1 on Sept. 11.

–Field Level Media

Aug 26, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Trainers attend to Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Panthers QB Sam Darnold (ankle) out 4-6 weeks

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with high-ankle sprain, NFL Network reported Saturday.

Darnold, 25, underwent an MRI on his left ankle Saturday and is expected to seek a second opinion, per the report.

The fifth-year NFL QB was carted off the field after sustaining the injury in the third quarter of the Panthers’ 21-0 win against the Buffalo Bills in Friday night’s preseason finale.

Darnold was in the process of throwing an incomplete pass when Bill defensive tackle C.J. Brewer pulled him down, causing Darnold’s ankle to twist unnaturally under Brewer’s weight.

Darnold completed 5 of 11 passes for 49 yards and added a 1-yard rushing touchdown before the injury.

With Darnold unavailable and rookie third-round pick Matt Corral (foot) out for the season, veteran PJ Walker is in line to open the season as the backup to starter Baker Mayfield.

The Panthers host Mayfield’s former team, the Cleveland Browns, in Week 1 on Sept. 11.

–Field Level Media

Aug 19, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) exits the field after the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers announce Baker Mayfield starting QB

The Carolina Panthers on Monday named Baker Mayfield the team’s starting quarterback for the 2022 season.

Mayfield was the presumptive starter over incumbent Sam Darnold since the Panthers traded for him in July. The Panthers open their season on Sept. 11 against the Cleveland Browns — Mayfield’s former team.

Mayfield and Darnold had alternated reps with the starters throughout training camp. Mayfield started the Panthers’ first preseason game against Washington and threw for 45 yards on 4-of-7 passing. Neither QB played in Friday’s preseason game against New England.

Mayfield becomes Carolina’s fourth different Week 1 starter in four seasons, following Cam Newton (2019), Teddy Bridgewater (2020) and Darnold (2021).

Mayfield, 27, completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 14 starts last season for the Browns.

Darnold, 25, completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,527 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games (11 starts) for the Panthers in 2021.

Mayfield and Darnold were the Nos. 1 and 3 overall picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, respectively.

Panthers rookie QB Matt Corral suffered a Lisfranc injury against the Patriots that likely will end his season.

–Field Level Media

Former OU quarterback Baker Mayfield speaks to the crowd at Owen Field on April 23 in Norman.

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Panthers GM: ‘Open competition’ at quarterback

Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said Tuesday that the starting quarterback position will be an open competition between newly acquired Baker Mayfield and incumbent Sam Darnold.

Fitterer made the comments during an introductory press conference for Mayfield, who the Panthers acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Browns last week.

“This is an open competition. The reason why we added Baker is to make the group better as a whole,” Fitterer said.

For his part, Mayfield said he’s happy for a “fresh start,” though he said taking a $3.5 million pay cut to facilitate the trade “wasn’t easy.”

“There was a little bit of sacrifice on all three fronts, between Cleveland, Carolina, and myself,” Mayfield said. “To me, it’s ready for a fresh start first and foremost. I’m extremely grateful for the four years I had in Cleveland, it’s a great football town.

“… But when it came down to it, it was wanting a fresh start, wanting to be with a coach and a GM that truly wanted me,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield said he and Darnold have already chatted.

“Sam reached out, got my number first,” Mayfield said. “Sam just wants to win. That’s just who he is. Our personalities might be different, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the same goal, and that’s to win and help this team out.”

Darnold was selected No. 3 overall by the New York Jets in 2018 — the same year the Browns took Mayfield No. 1.

“I’m really looking forward to being in that room with him and just challenging each other and elevating each other.”

Fitterer said the Panthers and Browns had been discussing a trade since the draft but that Mayfield’s contract situation was the biggest obstacle.

The Browns are paying $10.5 million of Mayfield’s salary while the Panthers are picking up $4.85 million, per reports. Mayfield was set to earn $18.85 million this season on his fifth-year option.

The Browns get either a fourth- or fifth-round pick in 2024. Mayfield needs to play 70 percent of the snaps for it to become a fourth-rounder.

Mayfield said he made a deal with Panthers punter Johnny Hekker for the No. 6 jersey.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers OC declares Sam Darnold starting QB, backtracks

New Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said Tuesday that Sam Darnold would be the team’s starting quarterback in 2022 before backtracking, acknowledging that he “just put my foot in my mouth.”

McAdoo, the former head coach of the New York Giants, made the comments during a Zoom interview with reporters after being asked if Darnold would be the Panthers’ starter.

“Sam is our starting quarterback, yes,” said McAdoo, who was hired in January to replace Joe Brady as OC.

McAdoo then backtracked, acknowledging that Carolina head coach Matt Rhule might have something to say about the team’s starter.

“One of the things I’ve been working on is being better talking to you people (media), so announcing the starting quarterback here I just put my foot in my mouth,” McAdoo said. “That wasn’t something I should have said.”

It was McAdoo’s first interview since being hired.

Darnold went 4-7 as the starter last season, his first in Carolina. He threw nine touchdowns against 13 interceptions. Darnold spent his first three seasons in New York after the Jets selected him No. 3 overall in the 2018 draft.

Overall, he is 17-32 as a starting QB and has thrown for 10,624 yards with 54 TDs and 52 INTs.

“Sam does have some magic in his game,” McAdoo said. “He’s got some athleticism to him. I’m excited to work with Sam. We’ve been working the last few days here to get up to speed on offense, and he’s shown flashes of being a good player in this league.”

McAdoo was the Giants’ offensive coordinator from 2014-15 and was named head coach in New York before the 2016 season. The Giants were 11-5 in 2016, but when they plummeted to 2-10 the following season, McAdoo was fired before his second season was over.

After he and New York parted ways, McAdoo worked as the quarterbacks coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020 and spent 2021 as a consultant with the Dallas Cowboys.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) on the sidelines in the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers GM on Cam Newton: ‘We’ll see where it goes’

Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said Sam Darnold remains on target to be the team’s starting quarterback next season, but that doesn’t mean the door is closed on Cam Newton.

“The thing with Cam is it’s got to be a fit for us and it’s got to be a fit for him just as well,” Fitterer said Friday. “He’s looking for a certain opportunity. And the door’s still open for us. We’re very open to Cam. We’ll see where it goes. He knows where we stand. I think he and Matt (Rhule) had a really good conversation, from my understanding. So we’ll just see where it goes.”

Darnold started 11 games in 2021 for the Panthers, who lost 12 of their final 14 games to finish with a 5-12 record. The 24-year-old completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,527 yards with nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He rushed for five scores as well.

Newton, 32, was signed on Nov. 12 and went 0-5 as the team’s starter. The former NFL MVP has completed 54.8 percent of his passes for 684 yards with four scores and five interceptions. He also rushed for 230 yards and five touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers to start QB Sam Darnold against Saints

Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold will start Sunday at New Orleans, Panthers coach Matt Rhule said Wednesday.

Darnold started the first nine games this season before going on injured reserve with a broken shoulder blade.

He returned to action last Sunday, relieving Cam Newton and completing 15 of 32 passes for 190 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in a 32-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Darnold, 24, is 4-5 as Carolina’s starter and has completed 58.3 percent of his passes for 2,176 yards with seven TDs and 11 interceptions. He has also rushed for 196 yards and five touchdowns.

Newton, 32, was signed on Nov. 12 after Darnold’s injury and is 0-5 as the starter. He has completed 54.8 percent of his passes for 684 yards with four scores and five picks. The former NFL MVP has rushed for 225 yards and five touchdowns.

Backup QB P.J. Walker was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday along with pass rusher Haason Reddick.

After visiting the Saints (7-8) in Week 17, the Panthers (5-10) will close out the season at Tampa Bay on Jan. 9.

–Field Level Media