New veteran acquisitions, either by trade or signed as free agents, paying dividends were highlighted last week. The opposite end of the spectrum gets the focus this time around.

Several veteran newcomers who aren't living up to expectations have been identified. Contribution, availability and salary or draft capital to acquire were taken into account when making the selections.

Anyone injured during training camp, such as Jets edge rusher Carl Lawson, or lost early in the season and hasn't returned to action, like Washington Football Team quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, weren't given consideration. Neither was Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt. He was playing well before being sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury in a Week 7 game against the Texans.

 

Sam Darnold, QB, Panthers

Darnold was supposed to be an upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater, 2020's starting quarterback, when the Panthers traded a 2021 sixth-round pick, a 2022 second-round pick and a 2022 fourth-round pick to the Jets for him in April. That hasn't been the case with 2018's third overall pick. Carolina's 3-0 start with Darnold under center wasn't sustainable because the issues that prompted the Jets to determine he wasn't the long-term solution at quarterback resurfaced. Darnold is tied for the NFL lead with 11 interceptions. He ranks 30th among the 34 qualified quarterbacks with a 59.5 completion percentage and only rookies Justin Fields and Zach Wilson have a passer rating lower than his, which is 71.3.

Darnold is reportedly out four to six weeks with a fractured right scapula suffered in Week 9's loss to the Patriots. To add insult to injury, the Panthers showed their initial faith in Darnold by picking up his fully guaranteed $18.858 million fifth-year option for 2022. Carolina brought back Cam Newton last week, the most iconic player in the franchise's history, after Darnold was injured. Since Carolina's starting quarterback in 2022 probably isn't on the current roster, Darnold has the inside track of being the NFL's most expensive backup quarterback next year thanks to the fifth-year option.

 

Jared Goff, QB, Lions

Rams head coach Sean McVay souring on Goff last season led to his departure in March. Goff was included in an offseason trade for Matthew Stafford where the Lions received a 2022 first-round pick, a 2023 first-round pick and a 2021 third-round pick from the Rams. He was dealt despite the four-year contract extension averaging $33.5 million per year he signed shortly before the 2019 regular season, leaving the Rams with $24.7 million in dead money, a salary cap charge for a player no longer on a team's roster.