At this point, the New York Jets are going to sell low when it comes to moving struggling young quarterback Sam Darnold. The Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers were two teams initially in on him before both squads seemingly settled their quarterback situations.
With pretty much everyone coming to the realization that New York will select BYU’s Zach Wilson with the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft later this month, it’s not a secret that Sam Darnold will be moved. Now that other teams have settled their quarterback situations, the market is slim.
However, a recent reports suggests that three teams could still be in on the former top-three pick from USC.
“Obviously, the market is shrinking. It’s probably going to be a third-round type pick. The Colts are out; the 49ers are now out. Maybe you’re looking at Washington; maybe you’re looking at Chicago,” NFL insider Tony Pauline noted recently. “I guess the sleeper would be the Carolina Panthers. That is the sleeper team unless they want to move up and get a quarterback.”
Looking at the teams still in the hunt for Sam Darnold
Washington Football Team
After adding Ryan Fitzpatrick as a stopgap starter in free agency, it seemed like Washington was out of the Darnold “sweepstakes.” That’s obviously no longer the case. At the very least, getting him on the cheap would be an upgrade over the likes of Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen. Darnold could even compete with Fitzpatrick for the starting job during training camp.
Sure Chicago guaranteed Andy Dalton that he’d be the team’s starting quarterback after signing the veteran. But guarantees are in no way etched in stone around the NFL. Funny how that works, right? The idea here would be for these Bears to find a trade partner for Nick Foles while having Sam Darnold and Dalton compete for a starting job. Right now, it might be the best-case scenario for the embattled head coach and general manager tandem of Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace in the Windy City.
Desperation calls for desperate measures. By now, it’s known that Panthers owner David Tepper was pushing for a Deshaun Watson trade. Whether that’s died down after troubling allegations of sexual assault levied in the quarterback’s direction remains to be seen. What we do know is that the Panthers have been bandied about as team that could potentially trade up for a quarterback. If not, bringing in Darnold to compete with Teddy Bridgewater makes some sense.
The bottom line: As it stands, the Jets are unlikely to get anything more than a third-round pick for Darnold. It makes sense given the market dynamics and his struggles under center in New Jersey over the past three seasons.
After all, we’re talking about a 23-year-old quarterback who has thrown just 45 touchdowns against 39 interceptions in 38 career starts.
Expect something to happen on this front during the 2021 NFL Draft starting on April 29. It’s likely going to be the talk of the annual event in Cleveland come Day 2 of the draft.