Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold is happy that his career with the New York Jets is finally over.
The 23-year-old spent months wondering if he’d be New York’s choice until the team ultimately decided to go with whichever player they select in this year’s draft at second overall.
With that weight off his shoulders, Darnold admitted he’s ready to take the next step in his career in Carolina.
“There’s a little bit of both — relief and excitement,” Darnold said, via Darin Gantt of Panthers.com. “There’s been so much uncertainty this offseason, not knowing what your future was going to look like, that was hard. . . . But now that I’m in Charlotte, I’m excited, and yeah, I guess I am kind of relieved to be here.”
Darnold also admitted that he imagined he was going to be the Jets’ franchise quarterback for a long time, adding, “once you realize that the team that drafted you is moving on, it stings a little bit.”
Although Darnold is excited to join the Panthers, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be the team’s starter beyond the 2021 campaign. Carolina added Teddy Bridgewater last offseason and after just one season as QB1, Bridgewater will likely be second on the depth chart in 2021.
The Panthers have been looking for a franchise quarterback for a long time, and it’s unclear if Darnold will be able to turn his career around and be the guy Carolina wants him to be.