It’s become no secret that the Carolina Panthers are very open to replacing former New York Jets first-round pick Sam Darnold, who was traded to the NFC South franchise a little over a year ago.
Just this week, more rumors on the potential of a Baker Mayfield trade emerged, but the Seattle Seahawks reportedly have a “high level of interest” in the former Cleveland Browns starter as well — per NFL insider Josina Anderson.
Fortunately for the Panthers, the market for another veteran quarterback target is beginning to “heat up” according to uSTADIUM and NFL insider Jeremy Fowler.
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Garoppolo to Carolina Makes a Ton of Sense
On June 25, Fowler tweeted that “San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo remains on schedule in his recovery from shoulder surgery and timetable for throwing.” He continued: “The expectation has been Garoppolo will throw over next few weeks (early July, per Kyle Shanahan) and that plan is still in place.”
This followed a live report from Fowler noting that both the Seahawks and Panthers remain interested in Mayfield and Garoppolo. There are several reasons the former Tom Brady disciple and Jets rival makes more sense with the Panthers, however.
First off, the Niners have made it clear that they would rather keep Garoppolo than release him. This could be a bluff from general manager John Lynch but assuming “Jimmy G” does get traded, it’s far less likely that San Franciso deals him to one of their biggest division rivals.
As Mayfield to Seattle talk becomes more realistic, it may push Carolina to make a move and acquire Garoppolo. Another reason is the scheme.
NFL analyst Mark Schofield of Touchdown Wire called the Panthers and new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo the “ideal fit” for Garoppolo’s skill set.
“McAdoo’s NFL background is rooted in the quick-strike, West Coast philosophy of [Mike] McCarthy, under whom McAdoo cut his teeth in the league,” explained Schofield. “During his time in New York, both as head coach and offensive coordinator, you can see how his philosophy looked on the field. And it looked quite similar to the designs that put Garoppolo in a position to succeed during his time in San Francisco.”
Jack Hammer, a 49ers reporter for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, concurred on June 23 that he believes Jimmy G will be traded to the Panthers.
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Darnold Has Worn out Welcome in Carolina
It’s incredible how fast the Panthers have seemingly given up on Darnold, a player the front office tried to sell fans on last spring. Ex-offensive coordinator Joe Brady failed to unlock the USC product, as did Adam Gase with the Jets.
Now, after drafting Matt Corral in 2022, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Darnold won’t last much longer in Carolina.
Popular Panthers “chief fan officer” Michael Rimmer spoke for the base of supporters with a tweet that listed Garoppolo as his top preference for the starting quarterback job in Carolina this season. Down at the bottom of that ranking was Darnold, behind Mayfield, Corral and Cam Newton.
Whether you were a Darnold guy or not during his days with the Jets, you have to feel for the kid. He just turned 25 on June 5, and yet his once-promising NFL career feels dead in the water after four lackluster seasons.
No matter what the future holds for Zach Wilson, it’s looking more and more likely that NYJ general manager Joe Douglas made the right call when he chose to start fresh at quarterback.