It’s still unknown if the New York Jets are going to be shopping their young quarterback, Sam Darnold, but that isn’t stopping other NFL teams from at least inquiring about the 23-year-old.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Super Bowl Sunday morning that “multiple teams” have called up the Jets to check in on the third-year passer, who was selected third overall out of USC in 2018.
Per the report, the Jets “haven’t turned away the calls.”
Trading Darnold is one of the three major options the Jets could take this offseason as they look to rebuild a competent culture on the heels of hiring well-respected San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh as head coach.
Saleh has continuously hyped up Darnold when asked about him, even though he’s been non-committal.
“What I can tell you about Sam is that he is an unbelievable talent. There’s a reason why he was the third overall pick, it’s very clear, just watch the tape,” he said. “Production aside, just watch the player. He’s got tremendous mobility, he’s got arm talent, he’s fearless, he’s smart, he’s a good, precise decision-maker. He’s loved in the locker room, people adore him around this building.
“There’s a reason why he was a third overall pick and, let’s be real, he’s 23 years old. So he hasn’t even scratched the surface of life yet.”
Talent and intangibles aside, Darnold regressed in his third season with the Jets — his second under former head coach Adam Gase, who only helped run the Jets into the ground during his brief tenure with the franchise.
In 12 games this season, he went 2-10 while completing just 59.6% of his passes for 2,208 yards with nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. It’s important to note, though, that the Jets offered little support around him with a weak offensive line and a questionable group of playmakers, at best.
Still, his down year has many suspecting that the Jets will move on from him. Gang Green has the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft where they could take either Justin Fields out of Ohio State or Zach Wilson out of BYU.
They could package that No. 2 pick and any of their other three first-round selections over the next two years — along with Darnold, possibly — to trade for a quarterback. Superstar passer Deshaun Watson reportedly wants no part of the Houston Texans anymore and has submitted a trade request.
Believed to be amongst his top destinations are the Jets as Saleh is well-respected in the 25-year-old’s eyes.
Teams looking for quarterbacks include the Washington Football Team, the Indianapolis Colts, the Carolina Panthers, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Chicago Bears, per Schefter. All of whom contacted the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford before he was dealt to the Los Angeles Rams.