Panthers will exercise Sam Darnold’s fifth-year option

After trading for quarterback Sam Darnold on Monday, the Panthers aren’t planning to let him hit free agency in 2022.

Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reports Carolina will exercise Darnold’s fifth-year option. Carolina has the choice to do so, as Darnold was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft.

The Panthers gave up a sixth-round pick in 2021 plus a second- and fourth-round pick in 2022 in exchange for Darnold, so it stands to reason that they would like to keep him around for more than one year.

Darnold’s fifth-year option salary is projected to be $18.9 million.

The quarterback has thrown for 8,097 yards with 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions in 38 starts since entering the league. Darnold completed 59.6 percent of his passes in 2020 for 2,208 yards with nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His 72.7 passer rating was last among 35 qualified passers.

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