With all the moves we’ve seen around the NFL in recent weeks, there’s still no concrete information on a potential Sam Darnold trade. Reports have surfaced that it’s a 90% certainty the New York Jets will move off him in favor of likely No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson in the 2021 NFL Draft next month.
Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos have sat back and watched the quarterback situation play out around the league without making a move to replace or find competition for Drew Lock.
Could something potentially be on the horizon here soon? According to NFL Draft insider Daniel Jeremiah, that’s a real possibility.
“I start looking at the options that they’re faced with and I’m thinking, man, if it’s cheaper to get Sam Darnold and then you still maintain your pick there at No. 9, that might be the best way to proceed,” Jeremiah said recently. “The fact that a full commitment hasn’t happened is due to the fact they have more information inside the building than we do.”
There has not been a firm commitment one way or another from new Broncos general manager George Paton. At this point, he will be the one making the decision now that front office head John Elway has relinquished player personnel control.
Does a Sam Darnold trade make sense for the Denver Broncos?
It’s going to be all about whether Paton and the powers that be in Denver believe Darnold is an upgrade over Lock. Sure the two could compete for the starting job during training camp. But that seems to be a questionable fit without a proven veteran in the mix. Looking at their splits, there’s not much to like about either option.
- Sam Darnold: 38 starts, 59.8% completion, 8,097 yards, 45 touchdowns, 39 interceptions
- Drew Lock: 18 starts, 59.1 completion, 3,953 yards, 23 touchdowns, 18 interceptions
While Darnold has had three seasons to prove himself in Jersey, it’s important to note that they just didn’t have the skill-position talent around him. Any Sam Darnold trade would be the Broncos’ way of admitting their mistake after selecting Lock in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Remember, Lock tied for the league lead with Carson Wentz in interceptions a season ago.
All of this is much more convoluted following the blockbuster trades we saw around the NFL world late last week. The San Francisco 49ers moving up from 12th overall to the third pick guarantees that each of first three selections in next month’s draft will be quarterbacks. Selecting ninth overall, that’s not great news for the Broncos.
Denver might show interest in embattled quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo should the 49ers put him on the block. Realistically, he’d be a better short-term option than Darnold or Lock. But that does nothing to change the Broncos’ long-term issues under center moving forward.
On the other had, San Francisco is now out on a potential trade for Darnold after being linked to the former top-three pick for some time now. That decreases the market for the struggling former USC standout.
This is one of the biggest stories to watch with about a month to go before the 2021 NFL Draft. Denver has not committed to Drew Lock. It might view Darnold as an upgrade. Meanwhile, it’s now readily apparent that Zach Wilson will be the Jets’ new franchise quarterback under first-year head coach Robert Saleh.