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Carolina Panthers name Sam Darnold Week 12 starter, bench Baker Mayfield

Vincent Frank

Sam Darnold will get yet another chance to prove that he can be a starter-caliber quarterback in the NFL when his Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos Sunday.

The Panthers announced on Tuesday that Darnold will replace the struggling Baker Mayfield under center for the team.

“Interim coach Steve Wilks told his quarterbacks Tuesday that Sam Darnold would start at home this week against the Broncos, making him the fourth quarterback to take the field this year and the third to start a game,” the Carolina Panthers announced, via their official website.

Acquired from the New York Jets ahead of the 2021 season, Darnold has not seen action thus far this year. He missed the start of the campaign with a high-ankle sprain.

But once he was ready to return, interim head coach Steve Wilks opted to stick with P.J. Walker as the Panthers’ starter. He was injured and ultimately replaced by as Carolina’s QB1 this past week against Baltimore. It was a real struggle for Mayfield as he threw two interceptions without a touchdown in a 13-3 loss.

Related: Carolina Panthers standing in Sportsnaut’s NFL power rankings

Carolina Panthers to get one final look at Sam Darnold

carolina panthers name sam darnold starting qb
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

It makes sense for Carolina to make this move right now. The team sits in last place at 3-8 and is completely out of the AFC Playoff picture. Mayfield is highly unlikely to return to the team next season.

While the same thing can be said about Darnold, he will at least give Carolina some tape to look at as the team plays out the remainder of the season.

Darnold, 25, started 11 games for the Panthers a season ago — completing 60% of his passes for 2,527 yards with nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

There’s a darn good chance that Carolina will look to add a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft. But getting to see a bit more of Darnold could potentially change the dynamics some. He’s set to join Mayfield on the NFL free agent market this coming March.