The Carolina Panthers traded for Sam Darnold this offseason, but seven weeks into his first season with Carolina, head coach Matt Rhule made the decision to bench his starting quarterback. In the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the New York Giants, P.J. Walker took over for Darnold with 12:41 to play in the fourth quarter and Carolina trailing New York 15-3.
Darnold struggled in three quarters against a Giants defense that entered Sunday's game ranked 29th in points allowed and 27th in yards allowed. The Panthers quarterback led his team to just three points against New York, completing only 16 of 25 passes for 111 yards with no touchdowns and one interception (57.2 rating).
Darnold and the Panthers got off to a 3-0 start this season, but Darnold has struggled in his last three games, completing 54 of 103 passes for 495 yards with two touchdowns to five interceptions. The 52.04 passer rating just wasn't ideal for Carolina, which traded a 2021 sixth-round pick and a 2022 second-round and 2022 fourth-round pick to the New York Jets for Darnold.
Darnold has a cap number of $4,774,685 this season and a fifth-year fully guaranteed option of $18,858,000 if exercised. The Panthers finished Sunday's game with Walker, who threw just 56 passes in his brief NFL career heading into this one. Walker started just one game in 2020 after coming over form the XFL's Houston Roughnecks. He did not play in five of six games this season.