Panthers say Sam Darnold trade doesn’t rule out QB in draft

New York Jets v New England Patriots
Getty Images

The Panthers traded three draft picks for Sam Darnold on Monday and they’re reportedly set to pick up the option on Darnold’s contract for the 2022 season, so it would seem they feel he’s the right fit at quarterback for the near future.

With that being the case, the odds that they’ll use the No. 8 pick in this year’s draft on another quarterback don’t look too good. General Manager Scott Fitterer did his best to keep that door open in comments made after Monday’s deal became official.

“This doesn’t take out of anything in the draft,” Fitterer said, via Darin Gantt of the team’s website. “It doesn’t take us out of taking a quarterback, it doesn’t take us out of taking any position. What we wanted to do going into this draft, through free agency, through this trade with Sam, was to just get rid of all the needs we have. We wanted to get to a place where the roster was in a good spot, and we could take the best available player at No. 8. We could always move up, and we could always move back, but this puts us in a position to make the right football decision for this team moving forward.”

Many have noted that Darnold had very little to work with on the offensive line or at the skill positions during his three seasons with the Jets. The Panthers have Christian McCaffrey, Robby Anderson, and D.J. Moore at the skill spots, but they did lose left tackle Russell Okung this offseason.

That could lead them to address that spot with their top pick, but it doesn’t look like Fitterer will be offering any hints.