Now that Baker Mayfield has signed with the Panthers, there’s a new idiotic favorite to step in as the new Seahawks quarterback. No, we don’t need Sam Darnold. Frankly, the supporters of this idea should be embarrassed.
Idiotic might be harsh, but frankly, it’s deserved. How anyone can think that Sam freaking Darnold has established himself as a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL is beyond me. Listen, I understand that it’s all relative. The old chestnut, “you don’t have to be faster than the bear, you just have to be faster than the guy you’re with” certainly applies to athletic competition.
So let’s say, just for the sake of this proposed trade, that Darnold would be better than either Geno Smith or Drew Lock. He wouldn’t, but let’s all pretend, just for now, that he’s the answer for the Seahawks. There are certainly better options for Seattle than this guy. The problem with Darnold – and any other QB – is that Smith and Lock are, of course, already under contract with Seattle. Darnold is owed $18.8 million for 2022.
Let’s assume that the Hawks would trade Smith to the Panthers for Darnold. That at least moves Smith’s $3.5 million off their books. But according to spotrac.com, Seattle’s current cap sits at $15.9 million. Adding Smith’s contract to that gives the Seahawks $19.4 million in cap space, which would drop to $600,000 after they signed Darnold.
Sam Darnold is not a starting QB, certainly not for the Seahawks
So for the supposed advantage of gaining the enormous talents of Sam Richard Darnold, the Hawks would be left with just about enough cap space to extend one of the beer vendors at the club level. Jacob Eason’s contract is more than that. If you need a reminder, the Seahawks are trying to work out an extension for DK Metcalf. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to add nearly $19 million to their payroll now.
It especially doesn’t make sense for a player who’s accomplished what Darnold has. Or to be more accurate, what he hasn’t accomplished. Sam Darnold has thrown 54 touchdowns in his career, vs 52 interceptions. That’s mediocre enough, but the real issue is that he’s getting worse. Darnold’s last two seasons: 9 TD, 11 INT, then 9 TD and 13 INT. Those aren’t the numbers of a starting quarterback, 12s. If they were, why did the Panthers trade for Mayfield?
That’s the biggest issue I have with the tragically ridiculous idea of the Hawks adding Sam Darnold. He wasn’t good enough for the Jets or the Panthers, but he’d be good enough for the Seahawks. I’m sure a few people are going to point out that Drew Lock didn’t exactly light it up in Denver. That’s a fact, he did not.
It’s also a fact that he played under the tutelage of noted offensive geniuses Rich Scangarello and Pat Shurmur. It’s also a fact that Seattle is paying Lock $17.3 million less than what Darnold will make this season.
Here’s a beautiful example of the absolute… insanity, I guess, of the pro-Darnold camp. Check out this tweet, supporting the assertion that Sam Darnold’s second half was “super impressive”. I won’t link to the site that included this tweet. I’ll credit the site for admitting that Darnold doesn’t have as much upside as Mayfield and that his contract could be problematic. Ya think? Anyway, the tweet:
Now, maybe they thought this supported the idea that the current Panthers QB could be successful in Seattle. Let’s look at a few problems here. First, the tweet is from 2018; that isn’t particularly relevant to what Darnold can do now. It’s also from August 10th, a preseason game. Seriously, guys; this is what you pull up to support the contention that Sam Darnold could be the answer to the Seahawks supposed problem at quarterback?
Since the tweet mentions the second half, let’s look at what he did last season. The guy who was taken third overall in the 2018 draft started well in 2021. Over the first three games, he threw touchdowns and just one interception, and the Panthers were off to a 3-0 start. He ran into trouble against the Cowboys in week four as he was intercepted twice. Still, he tossed a pair of TDs and Carolina did put 28 points on the board. That wasn’t enough as the Panthers took their first loss.
From there on, the season was a trainwreck for both Darnold and the Panthers. It certainly didn’t help that Christian McCaffrey only played four more games all year, but Darnold was awful. Beginning in week five through week nine, he threw two touchdowns and eight picks.
Darnold himself missed five games, but he was scarcely better when he returned. He went two more games without a touchdown pass, then finally showed signs of life in the season finale with two scores and just one interception. The fact it took him 42 passes to amass those numbers, along with 219 yards amid a 41-17 blowout loss to Tampa Bay is also notable, I believe.
So this is the guy that some pundits think we need in Seattle. Frankly, I wouldn’t want him on the Seahawks if the Panthers picked up his entire salary. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But if we didn’t need Baker Mayfield, a demonstrably better quarterback, what the heck would we do with Darnold? Not a thing. So let’s stop this nonsense now, shall we? Yes, there might still be an interesting option out there – Gardner Minshew, for one – but