Former USC Football QB Sam Darnold, and current Carolina Panthers backup QB, suffered a high left ankle sprain in the last preseason game of the season last Friday. A decision was finally made with him, and that decision was to place him on IR and free up a roster space for Kicker Eddy Pineiro.
Why did that decision catch Darnold a break? Because, he was realistically always going to be going on IR, but wasn't always going to miss four to six weeks. That's what the Panthers said they're looking at for his recovery. Before, there was a chance that it would be more like a six to eight week recovery. Panther Head Coach Matt Rhule addressed that possibility after the IR decision was made.
It's significant for the Panthers because even though Darnold lost in the battle for the starting QB spot, it's not ideal for the Carolina Panthers to go into a year without their backup quarterback for long. That's because the Panthers have had to move on from their last four QB's after at the MOST one year. Playing quarterback for Carolina isn't easy.
Of all teams to need a backup quarterback, the Panthers are always the ones who seem to need it most. Heck, last year Darnold went down to injury for part of the season and they brought Cam Newton back for the first time since 2019, and even the former MVP struggled in his return to that franchise. He was a significant downgrade from Darnold statistically, and didn't win a single game (five starts).
Ex-USC Football QB Sam Darnold will be able to come back if needed after maybe only four weeks, though.
If Mayfield does struggle, the USC football great Sam Darnold won't be out too long. Of course, it's doubtful they'd give up on Mayfield four to six weeks from now, as they went out and showed heavy interest in him by going out and trading for him. If something does happen, though, Darnold will be able to get his shot with a high majority of the games left.
Mayfield also had to miss a few games last year due to injury, which is another example of why it's always important to have an experienced starter as a backup. Darnold will provide that eventually, and it's luckily not going to be on the longer side for this type of injury.