To say that Sam Darnold’s return to MetLife Stadium didn’t go well would be a massive understatement.
Darnold, who played for the New York Jets from 2018-2020, played miserably in today’s 25-3 loss to the New York Giants. The former No. 3 overall pick completed just 16-of-25 passes for 111 yards and one interception and was eventually benched in the fourth quarter.
After the game, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule committed to Darnold for next week, saying that he pulled the fourth-year pro in favor of backup P.J. Walker because he “felt like we needed somewhat of a spark.” In fairness to Darnold, Walker was only 3-for-14 passing for 33 yards, and both quarterbacks were sacked three times.
Meanwhile, Darnold was asked if the benching hurt more today because it came back in the same stadium where he played his first three seasons.
“No. It’s hard no matter where you are,” Darnold said, via Darin Gantt of the Panthers’ official website. “As a competitor, you want to go out there and give 100 percent for your teammates and for the guys next to you.”
Sam Darnold on benching: It’s hard no matter where you are. https://t.co/ybxvEQYrdD
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 24, 2021
Right now, it doesn’t appear that Darnold is in danger of being replaced–at least not by Walker. The Panthers are one of two teams reportedly in the running to trade for Deshaun Watson.
Of course, Watson might not even be able to play for his new team, no matter where he goes. There remains a strong chance he gets placed on the exempt list once he’s traded due to his ongoing legal issues.