GM Fitterer: Darnold in lead for starting QB job

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Despite the Carolina Panthers' pursuit of an upgrade at quarterback this offseason, general manager Scott Fitterer said Friday that Sam Darnold is currently in line to be the team's starting signal-caller.

"The whole key is bringing Sam along," Fitterer said, according to ESPN's David Newton. "He's in the lead for that job."

However, Fitterer also said the club still plans to add to the quarterback room, per The Associated Press' Steve Reed.

The Panthers were among several teams interested in acquiring Deshaun Watson before he chose to join the Cleveland Browns. The team's interest in Watson came after Fitterer said earlier this month that Carolina's quarterback position was "open."

Fitterer said there are no hurt feelings from Darnold following the team's pursuit of Watson, per Newton.

Darnold went 4-7 as a starter last season after being acquired from the New York Jets. The third overall pick in the 2018 draft threw for 2,527 yards and nine touchdowns in 2021 amid injuries and erratic play.

Additionally, Fitterer said the "door is still open" for Cam Newton's return, although he added that Newton has to want to come back and understand his role. The 2015 MVP played eight games and made five starts for Carolina after reuniting with the franchise midway through last season.

GM Fitterer: Darnold in lead for starting QB job
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