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Jets Trade QB Sam Darnold to Panthers

The New York Jets have traded star quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers. The move ends all speculation on whether Darnold, the franchise savior, as the Jets used to call the young quarterback three years ago, would remain in their plans.

And what do the Jets get from the trade? Well, for starters, three draft picks go the other way. The Jets will get a sixth-round selection in the 2021 draft and a second-round and fourth-round picks in 2022. 

The two other things they get from the trade are financial security and a clean start for the franchise and their new quarterback, whoever he may be.

The Jets Will Use the No.2 Pick to Select Darnold’s Successor 

Now that the Jets have traded their only proven quarterback, it is very likely that they will use their No. 2 overall pick in the draft to find his replacement. 

The most probable candidate for the Jets’ quarterback post is Zach Wilson from BYU. He has had several meetings with people who sit at the top of the Jets’ hierarchy and is considered as their first choice for the quarterback position.

Considering that the outbound Sam Darnold was a No.3 pick only three years ago, if the Jets opt to go with a quarterback as their No.2 overall, they would be the first franchise to pick two quarterbacks within the top three overall picks in a four-year period since 1967.

All Options Were In Play

However, not everyone in the Jets’ organization backed trading Darnold to the Panthers. Jets coach Robert Saleh was one of those who wanted to continue with the former franchise savior and said that he had “unbelievable arm talent.”

The Jets are said to have considered keeping Darnold and still going for a rookie quarterback, but in the end decided to start anew and provide a clean slate to the team, the new quarterback, and even Darnold.  

The Jets also thought that the idea of having two young and talented quarterbacks in the roster could backfire and turn into a quarterback controversy that will do the franchise little good going forward.

Financial security was also a factor for the Jets’ decision-makers. They know the perks of having a quarterback on a rookie contract and a No.2 pick that comes at a fixed cost of US$35 million over four years was a too enticing proposition to ignore.

When you compare that with Darnold’s contract situation and the financial uncertainty that would have come from it if the Jets didn’t trigger the fifth-year option, you immediately see why the Jets wanted a clean start.

Darnold’s contract situation is now an issue that the Carolina Panthers will worry about. He has only one year on his rookie contract that guarantees him about US$4.6 million in salary and bonuses. 

The Panthers have until May 3 to decide whether they will activate his fifth-year option for 2022. If they do, it will set them back around US$18.8 million. According to ESPN sources, the Panthers want to discuss exercising the fifth-year option with Darnold’s agent as soon as possible.

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