Buccaneers don’t have to worry about Sam Darnold in division

Sam Darnold, New York Jets (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
Sam Darnold, New York Jets (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will now find themselves facing a new starting quarterback twice yearly. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Carolina Panthers have traded a 2021 sixth-round draft pick, and a second and fourth-round pick in 2022 to the New York Jets for Sam Darnold.

The NFC South now features Darnold, Matt Ryan, whoever the Saints choose to trot out between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill, and of course Tom Brady. Luckily, while this trade is good for both the Panthers and Jets, the Buccaneers don’t need to worry, at all.

In case it wasn’t obvious, the NFL is a quarterback-driven league. The Buccaneers still have far and away the best quarterback in the division, if not the league. Sure, Darnold deserved a fresh start after getting beaten into submission whilst in the Big Apple, and the change of scenery should see an improvement and both his play and the Panthers quarterback play from Teddy Bridgewater, the appropriately named “bridge” quarterback for Carolina a season ago.

Even with that being the case, the Darnold-led Panthers should only be competing for second place in the NFC South. There’s a lot of talent with the skill positions in Carolina, much more than he had to work with in New York, but let’s be honest, Darnold isn’t going to turn into Joe Namath after leaving the Jets, or any great Panthers quarterback of years past (Kerry Collins? Jake Delhomme? Cam Newton?) much less Tom Brady.

In case it was forgotten, the reigning, defending, undisputed Super Bowl champion Buccaneers are returning all 22 starters in their quest to run it back in 2021. They should be the overwhelming favorites to repeat as champions. The Darnold trade certainly moves the needle around the NFL community, especially around draft time. Speaking of which, the Panthers being able to hold onto the eighth overall pick while acquiring Darnold is significant and is a situation that should certainly be monitored.

For the Buccaneers though, it’s just another day around the way. All this really means is the Bucs will probably beat the Panthers in a slightly smaller margin on their quest for immortality.

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