Why NFL Draft Expert ‘Loves’ Jets-Panthers Sam Darnold Trade

This trade might work out for all parties involved


April 5, 2021

NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah believes everyone is a winner in the Sam Darnold trade.

The New York Jets on Monday traded Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and a second-rounder and fourth-rounder in 2022.

Jeremiah, one of the foremost NFL draft experts, explained via Twitter he loves the trade for all three parties — the Jets, the Panthers and Darnold — because it positions everyone for future success.

As Jeremiah explains, the Jets receive valuable draft capital to build around BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, whom New York is projected to select with the No. 2 overall pick later this month, while the Panthers receive a talented 23-year-old QB in Darnold who could benefit from a change of scenery. Carolina now can use the No. 8 pick in 2021 on an elite playmaker, to put alongside Darnold, rather than a QB.

Darnold, who turns 24 in June, hasn’t performed up to expectations since being drafted third overall in 2018. He has shown promise at times, however, particularly at the tail end of his rookie campaign. The Panthers are banking on him finding his stride upon switching teams. After all, the Jets haven’t exactly been a model franchise, going 9-23 in Adam Gase’s two seasons as head coach before New York parted ways with him in favor of former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

Darnold has one year remaining on his rookie contract. A league source told ESPN’s David Newton the Panthers plan to discuss exercising Darnold’s fifth-year option with the quarterback’s agent.

The Panthers went 5-11 in 2020, Matt Rhule’s first season as Carolina’s head coach. They occasionally looked like a team on the rise, though, and consistent QB play from Darnold would go a long way toward putting Carolina back in the NFC playoff picture.

It remains to be seen what the Panthers will do with last season’s starter, Teddy Bridgewater, who’s entering the second year of a three-year, $63 million contract that is set to count $22.9 million against the 2021 salary cap.

Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold
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