Every move the Carolina Panthers have made this offseason suggests they don't view Sam Darnold as the answer.
From the pursuit of Deshaun Watson to calling on other potential veterans to meeting with the top QB prospects in the draft to general manager Scott Fitterer noting "at some point, you have to take a shot" at drafting a first-round QB, the signs are bright and glaring.
Despite everything said and done, Darnold remains.
Joining the "Bussin' with the Boys" podcast with Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan, Darnold didn't seem concerned about the Panthers' search and remained confident in his skills.
"It truly is, and this is where you're not gonna believe what I say, but just bear with me," he said. "It truly is like whatever happens happens, because at the end of the day, it's out of my control, and I know that. I have enough security in myself to where I can be like, 'I know I'm a good quarterback. I know I can be a good quarterback in this league. I've proved it.' And I know there's a team, if something happens, that would want me."
For Darnold (and really any professional athlete), he must believe those words. He must believe he's a good player who can win games. Otherwise, he wouldn't be in the NFL, and he certainly wouldn't have a job much longer if he lost that mentality and felt himself a loser.
So what else could he say?
The truth of the matter is that Darnold hasn't been a good quarterback since the New York Jets made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. From inconsistent rookie struggles to seeing ghosts to the Jets cutting bait after three years to averaging 1.18 INTs in 11 starts last season, Darnold has been erratic in his four-year career.
Yes, there are flashes where it looks like he could be a game-managing quarterback with some pop. But everything for Darnold has to align perfectly. When things break down, he short-circuits, and turnovers and dunderheaded decisions ensue.
Darnold admitted some of the criticism has rubbed him the wrong way.
"The part that pisses me is off is when people judge my game, like how I'm playing," he said. "Then I'm like, 'Go strap it up.' 'You're a fan and I respect you as a fan. You can talk all the s--- you want, I'm not going to do anything at the end of the day, but take it easy.'
"What if I was like, 'The house you just worked on, piece of sh--. You're so bad at tiling. You should really go get another job. Really think about your profession.' Sometimes you want to say stuff like that, but you can't."
Well, Sam, I'm sure if Mr. Tile Guy were set to make $18 million guaranteed in 2022, he'd gladly digest those criticisms. And that's the difference between a blue-collar job and a high-profile career as an NFL quarterback -- essentially a CEO of a team. Darnold's chosen career comes with the byproduct that how he performs comes with criticism or praise. And he's paid handsomely for that scrutiny.
The reality is that his employer has been trying to replace him for months. Thus far, they've swung and missed at every turn. Sooner or later, however, they'll land someone they hope will supplant Sam Darnold atop the depth chart.