New York Jets trade Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers

Updated: April 5, 2021 at 5:23 EDT

It’s finally happened. The New York Jets have moved former No. 3 pick, quarterback Sam Darnold. After months of rumors indicating that Darnold could be traded, the Carolina Panthers have reportedly come calling.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Carolina has dealt a sixth-round pick in 2021 as well as second and fourth-round selections in 2022 for Darnold.

Carolina has long been in the market for an upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater. The team was in on Matthew Stafford before he was traded from the Detroit Lions to the Los Angeles Rams. It also had interest in Deshaun Watson before troubling allegations of sexual assault were levied in the quarterback’s direction.

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Sam Darnold, 23, now moves on to a new NFL city as he looks to chart his path in the league. The former USC standout was inconsistent during a three-year run in Jersey, throwing 45 touchdowns against 39 interceptions in 38 career starts.

“I want to publicly acknowledge the commitment, dedication, and professionalism Sam displayed while with the Jets,” general manager Joe Douglas said. “He is a tough-minded, talented football player whose NFL story has not been written yet. While all these things are true, this move is in the short- and long-term best interests for both this team and him. We thank Sam for all of his work on behalf of this organization and wish him well as he continues his career.”

The move to acquire Darnold puts fellow quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s status in question with the Panthers.

Bridgewater, 28, threw for 3,733 yards with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 15 games last season, his first with Carolina. He also rushed for 279 yards with five scores.

With the Jets, Darnold had ups, downs, injuries and illnesses since being selected with the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

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Darnold, 23, showed modest improvement from his rookie year to his second season. His touchdown total improved from 17 to 19, his interception total dropped from 15 to 13 and he completed a higher percentage of his passes (57.7 percent in 2018, 61.9 percent in 2019).

But in 2020, Darnold threw for a career-low 2,208 yards and nine touchdowns in 12 games (all starts). He completed 59.6 percent of his passes and was intercepted 11 times.

As for the Jets, they’ll now add a quarterback with the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. That’s expected to be BYU product Zach Wilson.

(Field Level Media contributed to this story)