P.J. Walker will step up in Sam Darnold’s place
Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold will miss “several weeks” with a fractured scapula. Carolina’s backup is veteran P.J. Walker, who is expected to start when the Panthers (4-5) travel to Glendale to battle the Arizona Cardinals (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox).
The Panthers believe that the injury was sustained during the second quarter of Week 9 action, which saw Carolina fall in an ugly 24-6 decision to the New England Patriots.
After two days of testing, exams revealed that #Panthers QB Sam Darnold has a fractured scapula, sources say. The right shoulder injury will most likely lead to Darnold missing several weeks. PJ Walker, his backup, will step in.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 10, 2021
Darnold, the New York Jets‘ first pick of the 2018 draft, threw three interceptions in defeat, one of which was returned 88 yards for a touchdown by New England cornerback J.C. Jackson. He is now tied with Joe Burrow for the league lead in interceptions with 11.
All but one of Darnold’s interceptions came over the last six games, during which Carolina has gone 1-5 after a 3-0 start.
This injury assures that Darnold, in the midst of his fourth NFL season, still won’t have a full season of NFL action under his belt. His Jets career was marred by medical absences, including a separate shoulder injury that kept him out of four games last season. Darnold missed at least three games in each of his three seasons as a Jet.
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New York dealt Darnold to the Panthers for three draft picks, including a second-round choice in next year’s proceedings. That pick currently sits in the 46th slot, which would be the Jets’ fourth selection if the season ended today.
In Darnold’s place will be Walker, who is best known for his lucrative endeavors in the rebooted XFL, leading the spring league in passing yardage and touchdowns while guiding the Houston Roughnecks to an undefeated record. Walker made one start with the Panthers last season, throwing for 258 yards and a score in a 20-0 win over Detroit in November.
Darnold’s former green comrades will face off against his fellow 2018 passing draftee Josh Allen on Sunday afternoon against the Buffalo Bills (1 p.m. ET, CBS).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags