Sam Darnold was the No. 3 overall pick in 2018, but could very well play for a new team in just his fourth season.
That’s the nature of the NFL, and the New York Jets quarterback may learn that rather quickly. Darnold and the Jets capped their 2020 campaign Sunday at Gillette Stadium with a 28-14 Week 17 loss. Darnold even said he “wasn’t sure” whether it was his last game with the team.
The reason being is that the Jets have the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. They could use it to draft another franchise quarterback, whether it be Ohio State’s Justin Fields or someone else. If so, Darnold would be out.
That narrative has piqued the interest of Patriots fans over the last several weeks, as the reality of Cam Newton’s likely departure has set in. So, if you’re a Patriots fan who is hoping Darnold will land in New England, you will like what Jets receiver Jamison Crowder had to say about the USC product after Sunday’s season finale.
“Yeah, I like Sam. Sam’s really good,” Crowder told reporters after the loss. “You know, like I said, all those decisions are for the decision makers that know the position. But I think me and Sam have had a good connection these last two years. Sam is a baller, man. He’s young, he’s still growing. But he’s definitely a baller and can be that quarterback for any organization for sure.”
Darnold himself was straight up Sunday, noting his third season in the league was not what he had hoped for. He went 2-10 as a starter with more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (nine). But Crowder said the way he handled the down year speaks volumes.
“I think he’s handled it like a professional. I’ve seen him basically every day, he comes in ready to work,” Crowder said. “He went through the whole shoulder injury and stuff like that and he went out there and played through some pain and stuff. Like I said, he’s handled stuff this year like a professional, I feel like we all have. So yeah, Sam is a baller man. For sure.”
Now, obviously for the Jets would have to trade Darnold, who would enter his final year under contract, in order for the Patriots to acquire his service. But with New York’s current draft positioning, Darnold could find himself on the trade market.