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Shark Bites

The Jets aren't planning to play QB Sam Darnold against the Cardinals this weekend, according to The New York Daily News' Manish Mehta. Darnold suffered an AC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder in last week's loss to Denver. He returned to finish out that one and reportedly wants to play this weekend -- but the team is leaning toward holding him out. That'd leave Joe Flacco under center. The Jets offense figures to continue struggling either way.

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Panthers HC Matt Rhule said after Sunday's loss to the Giants that Sam Darnold remains his starting QB. "Just felt like we needed some sort of a spark," HC Matt Rhule said of the decision to bench Darnold. "Not that anything was necessarily him, I think it was all of them. Hoping P.J. [Walker] would go out there and make a run or do something to kind of get us going. Sam will be our quarterback next week, he'll be our quarterback moving forward." Darnold won't be a bankable fantasy play in Week 8, even in a plus matchup vs. Atlanta.

Panthers QB Sam Darnold was benched in the 4th quarter of Sunday's game vs. the Giants. He struggled again in this one, completing 16 of 25 passes for 111 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT. QB P.J. Walker will finish this one out for Carolina. We'll see what HC Matt Rhule does at QB next week.

Update: Rhule told reporters after the game that he made the switch seeking a spark and that Darnold remains the starting QB. Walker certainly didn't do anything to help himself, completing just 3 of 14 passes for 33 yards and producing an even lower QB rating (39.6 vs. 57.2).

Panthers QB Sam Darnold opened the final preseason game with 6 straight completions against the Steelers en route to a productive night. He finished 19 of 25 for 162 yards and 2 TDs. Darnold found Terrace Marshall and Robby Anderson for 2nd-quarter red-zone scores, while D.J. Moore led all Panthers with 6 catches and 48 yards on a team-high 6 targets. Carolina opens the season with a favorable schedule, including a home date with the Jets in Week 1 and a Week 3 visit to Houston. Keep Darnold in mind as a late-round fantasy football option -- especially if you wait on addressing QB in your draft. As for the WRs, Anderson and Moore operated as the clear leaders, playing 38 snaps apiece among Darnold's 41, according to Pro Football Focus. Marshall worked in for 23. TE Dan Arnold played 30 snaps, with TE Ian Thomas taking the field for 22.

The Panthers picked up QB Sam Darnold's 5th-year option on Friday morning. Carolina had a shot at QBs Justin Fields and Mac Jones in last night's 1st round but passed. Darnold is now set to make $18.9 million guaranteed in 2022, so there's a good chance he's the Panthers' guy for the next 2 seasons. Finally out of Adam Gase's shadow -- and with a nice pass-catching corps in Carolina -- Darnold is a good bet for a career-best year in 2021.

The Jets traded QB Sam Darnold to the Panthers in exchange for a 2021 6th-round pick and 2nd and 4th-rounders next year. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that Carolina was the "sole suitor" for Darnold -- hence the relatively cheap price tag. Darnold, of course, has been largely disappointing since going 3rd overall in 2018, completing 59.8% of his passes, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt and tossing 39 INTs vs. 45 TDs. He's gotten little help from his coaches or supporting cast. But Darnold has not fared well in Pro Football Focus' passing grades, ranking 30th, 27th and 35th over the past 3 seasons. He's a fine gamble for the Panthers to make, but Darnold certainly isn't a lock to emerge as the team's long-term starter. In fact, he'll need to beat out QB Teddy Bridgewater for the 2021 starting job -- although we do consider Darnold the favorite there. The Jets, meanwhile, are widely expected to take BYU QB Zach Wilson with the 2nd overall pick later this month.

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