Panthers tap Sam Darnold as starting QB in ex-Jet’s comeback quest


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Sam Darnold is back in the saddle.

The Carolina Panthers announced Tuesday that the former New York Jets quarterback will start Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

Sunday will mark Darnold’s first start of the season in Carolina, where he competed for the starting job against Baker Mayfield over the summer. Darnold was expected to back up Mayfield, who won the job in August, but suffered an ankle injury in a preseason game against the Bills and was carted off.

Darnold, a former No. 3 overall pick, started in 11 games for the Panthers last season. Carolina went 4-7 in those starts.

Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold warms up on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.
Getty Images

Darnold completed 59.6 percent of his passes last year, throwing for 6.2 yards per attempt, and logged nine touchdowns against 13 interceptions.

The Panthers have had a rough season. They are 3-8 and in last place in the NFC South. Head coach Matt Rhule was fired in the middle of the season after accumulating an 11-27 record over two-and-a-half years.

Although this season is all but over for Carolina, Sunday is an opportunity for Darnold to show to both the Panthers and other prospective teams that he is capable of competing for a starting job.

Darnold, who arrived in Carolina in April 2021, will be a free agent after this season.

The Panthers are 2.5-point home underdogs to the Broncos on Sunday.

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