Head coach Matt Rhule didn’t name Sam Darnold the Panthers’ starting quarterback during his press availability on Monday. But it’s common knowledge that Carolina acquired Darnold last week to replace Teddy Bridgewater as the team’s QB 1.
Darnold and Bridgewater were teammates in 2018 with the Jets, until New York traded Bridgewater to New Orleans in late August. But according to Darnold, the duo has not communicated since Carolina made them teammates once again.
“I’ve always admired Teddy,” Darnold said during his press conference on Monday. “Being with him in New York, we became close friends there. We would talk every now and then. I haven’t talked to him since the trade went down, but I’m looking forward to that interaction and I’m looking forward to competing with him.”
Bridgewater has received permission to seek a trade, so there’s no guarantee that he and Darnold will even be on the field together for training camp — let alone compete for a job. But even if they remain on the same team, the Panthers did not give up three draft picks for Darnold to sit on the bench.