The Carolina Panthers addressed the future of their quarterback position on April 5 when they acquired Sam Darnold from the New York Jets. In exchange, the Jets received a 2021 sixth-round pick and second- and fourth-round picks in 2022.
With the Jets holding the No. 2 pick in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft and multiple quarterback options on the board, fans and experts figured Darnold’s time in New York was over.
Instead, the Carolina Panthers look to hope to rehabilitate Darnold after his career trajectory started heading in the wrong direction. He started in 12 games for the Jets in 2020, recording 2,208 passing yards and 9 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. While those stats seem disappointing, it’s important to remember that the Jets fielded an awful team last season. There should be more talent surrounding Darnold in the Panthers organization.
Despite the addition of Darnold, the Carolina Panthers’ odds to win the NFC South haven’t changed all that much. As per Bovada, the team’s odds of winning the division sit at +750. That puts them behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-160) and New Orleans Saints (+255).
The Panthers’ Super Bowl odds on Bovada sit at +6600.
Carolina Panthers: Odds to Win the NFC South
Odds via Bovada as of Tuesday, April 6
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -160
- New Orleans Saints +255
- Carolina Panthers +750
- Atlanta Falcons +1100
Panthers Have Long Way To Go To Catch Buccaneers, Saints
After winning Super Bowl 55 and being one of the favorites to win it again this season, it isn’t shocking to see the Buccaneers having top odds to win the NFC South. The Carolina Panthers lost both of their games against Tampa Bay last season by a combined score of 77-40. They were also 0-2-0 against the New Orleans Saints, being outscored 60-31.
By the end of the season, the Panthers were just 1-5-0 against NFC South teams. Even if they’re only better than the Atlanta Falcons, last season proves that they have a long way to go before being divisional threats again.
The Panthers finished 5-11-0 for the second season in a row in 2020 and has failed to make the playoffs in three straight seasons. They also only averaged 21.9 points per game (24th) while allowing 25.1 (18th). It’s evident that Darnold can’t solve all of the Panthers’ issues since they happen to be on both sides of the ball.
Thankfully, the Carolina Panthers have been addressing their defensive needs during the offseason. The team has brought in players like Morgan Fox, Denzel Perryman and Frankie Luvu to help shore up the defense. Offensively, the organization lost Curtis Samuel but brought in David Moore to fill in for his absence. While these moves look decent on paper, only time will tell if they pay off in the end.
At the end of the day, Panthers fans shouldn’t expect Darnold to immediately turn the team around. It isn’t like he’s Patrick Mahomes or Russell Wilson. On the other hand, he’s only 23 years old and should have a lot of football left in front of him. If the organization and fans are patient with him, Darnold could end up being an important part of the team for years to come.