Just a few years after Sam Darnold was one of the most coveted players in the 2018 NFL Draft, the New York Jets quarterback seems to be generating just as much interest on the trade market this offseason.
The quarterback carousel has already been wild this spring, with the likes of Carson Wentz, Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff finding new homes. With the Jets considering changes at quarterback, after hiring a new coach, Darnold could join a growing list of top signal-callers available for trade.
New York Jets rumors: Team expected to draft quarterback with No. 2 pick, trade Sam Darnold?
Despite being a disappointment since entering the league as the No. 3 overall pick, quarterback-needy teams are keeping a close eye on New York. With the 2021 NFL Draft approaching and the Jets considering their options with the No. 2 pick, another big move could come in a matter of months.
Here’s the latest buzz on Darnold’s future with the Jets.
NFL rumors: Multiple teams calling New York Jets about Sam Darnold trade
Even before Jets general manager Joe Douglas told reports this past week that he will field offers for the team’s starting quarterback, New York was getting plenty of calls. When head coach Robert Saleh wouldn’t publicly commit to the former top pick as the team’s long-term starter, rival general managers picked up the phone.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, eight NFL teams have called the Jets to inquire about a trade for Darnold, with varying levels of interests between the clubs.
While the number of teams might seem surprising, it tracks with recent NFL rumors. The Athletic’s Connor Hughes reported on March 5 that the Washington Football Team called New York with interest in a trade. The San Francisco 49ers also engaged in discussions. It’s also believed that the Chicago Bears, along with a few other teams, would be interested
Don’t expect a trade to happen immediately. Douglas has told his peers across the league that the team is still evaluating its options at quarterback. There remains a chance that New York opts to stick with Darnold, then trades down from the No. 2 overall pick to gain more draft capital.
But that scenario might be the least likely to happen. There is growing buzz about BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, who is a strong favorite to be drafted right after Trevor Lawrence and some even rank him as the top player in this draft class.
The Jets will likely decide in early April, after attending Pro Days for Wilson and Ohio State star Justin Fields. Once their evaluations are finished and they determine what quarterback they prefer to potentially build their franchise around, trade talks for Darnold could accelerate quickly.
Read More: 5 ideal Sam Darnold trade scenarios
Statistically, there are plenty of reasons to question why NFL teams would be interested in Darnold. Across three NFL seasons, he has completed just 59.8% of his passes, averaged 6.6 yards per attempt and has an alarming 45-39 TD-INT ratio in 38 starts.
But general managers and coaches likely see an opportunity to buy low on a talented player who never got the chance to develop with Adam Gase and didn’t have the supporting cast to be successful. In a new environment, he could become the player evaluators projected him to become before the Jets drafted him.
For now, he will stay with the Jets, but expect him to be in a different uniform in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.