The New York Jets have traded quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for a sixth-round pick at the 2021 NFL Draft along with a second-round and fourth-round pick in next year’s selection process, per multiple reports on Monday.
So is officially the end of the Darnold era in New York, which only lasted three years after the 23-year-old was drafted third overall out of USC in 2018 — originally arriving as the perceived franchise quarterback of the future.
But the young passer only regressed after original flashes of promise, especially after former head coach Adam Gase steered the Jets to misery in 2019 and 2020.
Along with nagging injury issues, Darnold missed seven games over the last two seasons while posting a meager 60.9% completion rating with 28 touchdowns compared to 24 interceptions. In 12 games this past season, that touchdown-to-interception ratio was 9-to-11.
Darnold was always set up to fail given the incompetent management and head coaching that was above him. On the field, a lackluster offensive line constantly had him on the run while the Jets lacked legitimate playmaking options around him.
But after a 2-14 season, Gase was shown the door for the highly-touted Robert Saleh while general manager Joe Douglas has done well to address key issues surrounding the quarterback position.
While they constantly teased that Darnold could very well be a future option — Saleh singing his praises while Douglas said he would take trade calls — the man to lead this team under center now becomes the clear-cut No. 1 priority to address for the remainder of New York’s offseason.
Due to that 2-14 showing last season, the Jets have the No. 2 pick at the 2021 draft, meaning they’ll have a clear path to take BYU star passer, Zach Wilson. The prospect only solidified his status as a top-end pick with a strong showing at his pro day to make him an obvious choice for the QB-needy Jets.
All the while, the Jets continue to build their war chest of draft capital by picking up those three picks from Carolina, who will hope Darnold could be a long-term answer at the quarterback position after moving on from Cam Newton last year.