The Panthers are in the market for a quarterback and general manager Scott Fitterer says Sam Darnold is “in the lead.”
The “north carolina panthers” is a football team that plays in the NFL. The general manager of the team, Scott Fitterer, says that Sam Darnold is in the lead for their quarterback job.
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer claimed on Friday that Sam Darnold is “in the lead for that position,” less than a month after claiming the starting quarterback job was “available.”
“Fitterer remarked, “We want him to take it and run with it.” “But we’re going to make that space a lot more competitive. The whole focus is on securing the quarterback position in order to play winning football.
“That’s the goal we’re aiming towards.”
Starting with Carolina’s inability to acquire Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson in a trade with Houston, a lot has happened to change Fitterer’s mind.
Watson chose Cleveland over Carolina, New Orleans, and Atlanta in the end. According to a league source, the Panthers were ruled out because they wouldn’t guarantee Watson’s contract’s third and fourth years.
Watson eventually signed a new five-year contract with the Browns, with a total value of $230 million guaranteed.
While Fitterer wouldn’t confess to being disappointed about not acquiring Watson, he did remark the roster is “two steps closer” to winning the NFC South than it was a year ago.
Fitterer didn’t rule out using the No. 6 selection in the April draft on a quarterback or adding another quarterback to compete with Darnold before the draft through trade or free agency.
Baker Mayfield of the Browns, who demanded a trade when the Browns pursued Watson, is the most well-known quarterback available. According to a league source, the Panthers are not interested in trade for Mayfield right now.
“We’re keeping an eye on everything,” Fitterer remarked, without mentioning Mayfield by name. “We’re not going to do anything right now.”
Carolina has roughly $28 million in salary-cap space to make a move on a quarterback or other players who may help the team. Fitterer said that the possibility of bringing back Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore or quarterback Cam Newton has not been ruled out.
For another reunion with Newton, Fitterer said the 2015 NFL MVP would have to desire to come to Carolina and understand his job.
The Panthers selected Newton first overall in the 2011 draft, dismissed him in the 2020 offseason, then brought him back late last season on a one-year contract with Darnold on injured reserve with a shoulder issue. In 2021, Newton went 0-5 as a starter.
Carolina spent the previous week visiting pro days for Malik Willis of Liberty, Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh, and Matt Corral of Mississippi. For competitive considerations, Fitterer would not rate them or indicate whether one of them might be an instant starter in the NFL.
“Ideally, every quarterback, regardless of who it is, would sit for a few minutes and learn,” Fitterer said.
Fitterer’s objective is to strengthen the rest of the squad so that when Carolina finds the proper quarterback, the club will be able to compete. He claims that free agency moves have brought the squad closer to that goal, and that the majority of the trades would have been made even if the club had gotten Watson and his big contract.
But, with established players commanding such large contracts, Fitterer stated that the ideal approach to create a squad is to throw a rookie quarterback into the mix and develop around him.
That’s how he helped Russell Wilson, a third-round pick in 2012 who went on to become a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, turn Seattle into a Super Bowl contender.
“Draft and development is probably the best way to go,” Fitterer added. “That would be an excellent idea for us going ahead, but we’re open to all possibilities.”
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