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How Carolina can move on from Sam Darnold and Christian McCaffrey | #KeepPounding

In the 2022 season if Sam Darnold and Christian McCaffrey do not work out for the Carolina Panthers here are some options via free agency that could work.

With two players on big contracts these are some options that the Panthers can use to fill the gap, and hopefully for less money.

These are two players of much interest, not only in this continuing Panthers blog, but in general as both players make a hefty amount of money and affect the cap drastically.

To briefly explain, in previous articles they are listed on the hot seat, and here are quick reminders as to why. McCaffrey when healthy is amazing, but since the contract signing, he’s rarely played. If the Panthers do not see reasonable production from him, a trade is not out of the question. Darnold signed a huge contract that expires at the end of this 2022 season, so he is a free agent in the 2023 class, and he is not a starting quarterback in the NFL.

Without further introduction here is each player’s situation and replacements.

Sam Darnold

A less than stellar quarterback like Darnold cannot be too hard to replace. Nine interceptions and 13 interceptions, and in his young career never thrown for double digit touchdowns, he can be traded away, and someone fill the void.

It depends where the Panthers want to use that $25 million it as left, and that could be on quarterback for a big name like Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, or Jimmy Garoppolo.

Do not recommend that, but the services of Mason Rudolph, Taylor Heinicke, Andy Dalton, or Jacoby Brissett should not be much worse. If these players can come on friendly deals, then they could bridge a gap until Matt Corral is ready.

That is who the real enigma is — Matt Corral. He’s impressed the right people in OTAs, and he is being groomed as the quarterback of the future for Carolina. If this sticks, then a short-term answer like the Dalton’s of the world make sense.

If not, then maybe the Panthers put all its’ chips in on a quarterback like Jackson and shock the NFL.

Christian McCaffrey

Look, it does not have to come to this, it should not have to come to this, but CMC may need a new home.

He became the third player in NFL history to run and catch for over 1,000 yards, which earned him a large $64 million contract on 4 years. In the past two seasons and cannot stay on the field long enough to be worth the money.

One option is to trade him in hopes of getting a decent running back, or a pick to draft a decent running back.

Another option is free agency, which could give the black and blue a quality running back to pair with Chuba Hubbard.

Names like, Josh Jacobs, Kareem Hunt, Darrell Henderson, Tony Pollard, James Robinson, David Montgomery, and Devin Singletary are all potential free agents in 2023. That is if none receive extensions with their existing teams.

If Carolina wanted to spend big on the running back position, there are plenty of options to do so. Some of these are bigger fish than others, but it is possible Carolina adds one to replace McCaffrey and form more of a dynamic duo in the backfield.

As mentioned, Carolina has a lot to deal with moving into the 2022 season between personnel and players, but perhaps the biggest are Darnold and McCaffrey.