Sam Darnold’s play and salary cap number make trading for Deshaun Watson tricky for Panthers | You Pod to Win the Game

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Frank Schwab discuss the recent terrible play of Panthers’ quarterback Sam Darnold, and how Darnold’s recent contract option that was activated by Carolina will make trading for the Texans’ Deshaun Watson very difficult for the Panthers. Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

[YAHOO SPORTS JINGLE]

CHARLES ROBINSON: If you're Carolina and you're Matt Rhule, I mean, I know he's got to be the kind of emotional coach he is, I know he's got to be taking this to heart like really hard. They lose to the New York Giants in New York, but they lose the Giants 25 to three bench Sam Darnold in this game, which is not going to help with the Deshaun Watson stuff that's going swirling around right now. They are indeed trying to get in, I think, on the Deshaun Watson talks. I feel like, despite what everyone is saying, I really, truly feel like Miami is the inside track team.

To me personally, I don't think this has changed radically from what I reported in August. I still think that Carolina has always had interest. They're always kind of stepping in and stepping out of it. It's always about price and all these different things. But after a game like this, if you're the Panthers you're sitting there and you're saying like we triggered the option b on a guy for like $18.8 million or 18 and half with the off the top of my head.

I know it's more than, it's like right in that $18 and a half to $18.8 million next season, fully guaranteed. And right now, I guess you just have to hope that when Christian McCaffrey steps back on the field, it changes the dynamic of how Sam Darnold operates. And the looks that get thrown at him, but oh man, I don't know.

FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah, that ain't getting it done at quarterback. If you're like, well, once our running back, you don't have like, oh no.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah. No, who's this Golf? It's Golf, right? I mean, you just said it was Golf.

FRANK SCHWAB: It maybe not even be Golf, because Darnold's never looked at it. This is what I'm upset with myself. I'll be honest. Because we Carolina made this trade. I said Sam Darnold stinks. What are they doing? They gave up a second, a fourth, and a sixth, I believe, and I was like, and of course, triggered the option, and it's like why he was no good with the Jets. And everybody said, "Oh well, Adam Gase was a bad coach." Yeah, Adam Gase was a bad coach. You know who else was bad? Is Sam Darnold.

Sam Darnold was terrible at the Jets. He showed nothing that led you to believe he's a good quarterback, and the only thing people would come back with was what Adam Gase stinks. Yeah, I get it, but you need to do something on your own dude to give me any hope, but then I got reeled in. Those first couple of weeks, he actually looked pretty good, like he was, you know, making the right decisions and distributing the ball and I'm like, "Oh well, maybe I was wrong here."

Maybe Sam Darnold actually is going to be good and they made the right gamble all these picks and now we're seven weeks into it and it's clear he ain't that dude. And they paid a lot for him. I mean, I know you can pay more, like whatever Watson goes for, it's going to be multiple first and a lot, but they paid. What they gave up with the draft picks isn't nothing. They gave up some legitimate seven weeks. It's a done.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Frank, the cap space isn't a lot. I mean, that's the thing too. I would say this was confined to a one year mistake. Even with the draft compensation, I just like man they got a really aggressive owner like you know he took a shot. He's clearly driving a lot of these quarterback decisions in terms of seeking out quarterback talent. He's 100% driving Deshaun Watson's interest that being David Tepper and I think, though, if it was just limited to one year, that's one thing.

But like even when people would talk about the Watson situation and him potentially being in town in 2022, OK well, that means that you're stacked quarterback compensation next year is $53 to $54 million guaranteed. You can't survive paying two quarterbacks $54 million and you're on the hook with one for $18 plus $18 and half million. You'd have to unload it like Brock Osweiler.

You'd have to basically be like the Texans, going, hey, OK, so what we're going to do is we're going to ship this guy and is $18.5 $18.8 million to your team, with a second and a third, or a second I mean I don't even know, given how rare salary cap space is now, especially in the next year. Given how many teams just want to roll more money in the next year. Hard for me to believe somebody's just going to buy that. I mean, maybe the Jaguars, because they're going to have a bunch of money, but like you've got to package a pick to get it to go away now.

And it's your only chance. I think if your Carolina is, you have to figure out at least getting him functional and if that means McCaffrey being on the field. Great, now we also have to figure out every time McCaffrey goes out with a soft tissue injury how we're going to keep Sam upright and I don't know you know better get another really good running back next to McCaffrey or augment the offense.