The New York Jets now sit at 0-11 following a brutal 20-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 12. The team’s struggles under embattled head coach Adam Gase have led to some interesting Sam Darnold trade rumors.
For good reason. Much like everything he’s touched during his brief tenure in New Jersey, Gase has pretty much ruined Darnold. That includes some horrific in-game coaching and a ridiculous decision to play the former No. 3 pick when he was clearly not 100% healthy earlier in the season.
Darnold, 23, entered Week 12’s action having completed less than 59% of his passes for 1,045 yards with three touchdowns and six interceptions in six starts this season. Against Miami, the USC product completed just 16-of-27 passes for 197 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions.
The backdrop here is the likelihood that these Jets will ultimately select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft should they land that pick. This would mean a premature departure for Darnold in Jersey and a fresh start somewhere near.
It’s in this that we look at the five likeliest Sam Darnold trade scenarios for once the 2020 NFL season comes to a conclusion.
Sam Darnold trade to the Atlanta Falcons
- At 35 years old, Matt Ryan is still playing at a high level. He entered Week 12 having completed 66% of his passes for 2,978 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 10 starts this season.
- Despite this, it’s not yet known whether Ryan wants to take part in what will likely be a rebuild project under a new head coach in Atlanta. The team’s recent success under interim head coach Raheem Morris following the firing of Dan Quinn does not change this.
- Assuming Atlanta looks for an offensive-minded full-time head coach, it makes perfect sense to find Ryan’s long-term heir-apparent. Darnold could have a ton of success learning behind Ryan before taking over under center. It just makes too much sense.
Sam Darnold trade to the Dallas Cowboys
- The Cowboys might be saying everything right when it comes to injured quarterback Dak Prescott. However, that does not change the fact that there was a contract stalemate between the two ahead of the 2020 NFL season.
- On the off-chance that Dallas looks to franchise and trade Prescott this coming March, a Sam Darnold trade becomes more than possible. Owner Jerry Jones is not going to sit idly by and let Dallas hit quarterback purgatory. That’s for sure.
- The idea here would be to team Darnold up with the likes of Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, giving the still-young signal caller the best supporting cast he’s ever had. Darnold would also come a lot cheaper than Prescott.
Sam Darnold trade to the Denver Broncos
- The situation we saw this past week relating to the Broncos’ four quarterbacks does not change a darn thing moving forward. Former second-round pick Drew Lock entered his sophomore campaign with high expectations after a strong showing as a rookie.
- Unfortunately, Lock has not met these expectations. A combination of inconsistent play and injuries have led to the Missouri product throwing seven touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions while leading Denver to a bottom-five scoring offense.
- We already know that Broncos general manager John Elway loves himself those prototypical drop-back quarterbacks. Hence, his decision to draft Lock in the first place. At 6-foot-3, Darnold fits that bill more than he doesn’t.
Related: Top 100 NFL players of 2020
Sam Darnold trade to the San Francisco 49ers
- It’s no longer a guarantee that Jimmy Garoppolo will return to the 49ers next season. He’s currently sidelined with an ankle injury and has not taken that next step San Francisco expected after he led the team to the Super Bowl a season ago.
- San Francisco can get out from under Garoppolo’s contract, via a trade or release this coming offseason, saving a whopping $23.6 million against the cap. With impending free agents such as Richard Sherman and Trent Williams, it’s something the team might have to consider.
- In Darnold, the 49ers would be buying low on a young quarterback. It would be general manager John Lynch’s way of attempting to right the wrong that came with passing up on the likes of Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes back in 2017.