Sam Darnold will start for the Panthers this week

NFL: DEC 26 Buccaneers at Panthers
Getty Images

The Panthers opened the season with Sam Darnold as their starting quarterback and they’ll turn back to him for their Week 17 game against the Saints.

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule announced on Wednesday that Darnold will return to the starting lineup. Darnold last started against the Patriots in Week Nine and went on injured reserve after hurting his shoulder in that game.

Darnold’s injury led the Panthers to bring Cam Newton back to the organization and he helped them move to 5-5 by coming off the bench to run for one touchdown and throw for another in a win over the Cardinals. Newton moved into the starting lineup the next week, but couldn’t keep the wins coming and the Panthers are riding a five-game losing streak into Week 17.

Darnold, whose $18 million contract for next season is fully guaranteed, returned last Sunday and split time with Newton. He went 15-of-32 for 190 yards and was sacked four times in a 32-6 loss to the Buccaneers.