The Darnold era in New York has officially over, with the Jets trading quarterback Sam Darnold to the Panthers for a 2021 sixth-round selection, a 2022 second-round pick, and a 2022 fourth-round pick. The trade ends Darnold's short career as a starter where he failed to produce when it mattered most.
After taking over for an injured Josh McCown last season, Darnold went 3-6 as a starter and threw eight touchdowns against six interceptions. He was also sacked 46 times, which means that on average, his arms were pulled out of their sockets every other play. Last year's stats don't tell the whole story though; while playing some excellent football early in the season, Darnold lost momentum late in games and ended up with a losing record.
The trade comes as no surprise considering that Darnold is scheduled to be a free agent after this season. The Jets had been trying to find a way to get out from under his $35 million contract for several months now, so it's possible they could still sign him after all. If they do, they'll have to work hard to change their reputation as "Jets fans should never root for a Jet" kind of team.
The Jets have traded Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round selection and 2022 second- and fourth-round picks, according to the Panthers' Twitter account. The deal was confirmed by ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Darnold was drafted first overall by the New York Jets in 2018 after playing three seasons at California. In 129 career games with the Cal Bears, he completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also ran for 1,331 yards and 14 scores.
After two disappointing years in New York, Darnold went down with an ankle injury in 2019 that required surgery to repair a fracture. He returned for the 2020 season but was eventually replaced by Trevor Siemian early in September. The Jets finished the year with Christian Hackenberg as their starting quarterback.
Darnold's departure leaves a big hole at the top of Jet's offense. He was the team's most valuable player last season after throwing for 3,718 yards and 28 touchdowns against only seven interceptions. Running back Le'Veon Bell also left as a free agent and hasn't signed with another team yet.
The Panthers are looking to replace Cam Newton at the top of their offense.
Darnold was selected with the third overall pick by the Jets in 2018. The 22-year-old started 15 games last season before suffering a fractured ankle that ended his season early.
Darnold's departure leaves a void at quarterback for New York, which has Josh McCown under contract for next season. A veteran presence will help McCown as he tries to lead the team back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. The Panthers are looking to build a young core around star running back Christian McCaffrey and aim to compete immediately after finishing last in the NFC South with a 4-12 record.
In Darnold, the Jets get a player they believe can be their long-term answer at quarterback. He was outstanding in 2019 before getting injured and replacing him with McCown helped the Jets win five of their final six games to finish 10-6 and claim the No. 3 seed in the AFC. They'll look to take that momentum into 2020.
Darnold was drafted by the Jets directly out of college by former general manager Mike Maccagnan. Under new GM Joe Douglas, the Jets have begun to rebuild their roster by trading away some of their older players for future draft picks.
Before the NFL Draft, the Jets trade Sam Darnold to Carolina. Darnold was the third overall pick in the 2018 draft, and the Jets now have the No. 2 overall pick to replace him.
“We are excited that Sam Darnold has agreed to a contract with the New York Jets,” said Larry Moss, his agent. “We believe he is the best quarterback in this year’s class and look forward to seeing him succeed in Mike Vrabel's system.”
Darnold's deal is for four years and $36 million, with $18 million guaranteed. He will make base salaries of $875,000 this season and 2019 before becoming a free agent after the 2020 season. The cap number increases from $7.8 million to $12.9 million over those two seasons.
The move comes one day after the Jets traded up in the first round to take Quinnen Williams with the sixth overall pick. General manager Joe Douglas said the team decided not to extend Darnold a qualifying offer of 20 percent of the salary cap. This would have forced the Jets to either pay Darnold as a rookie or let him test free agency. Instead, they can keep him under the cap while trying to win games with him at quarterback.
Sam Darnold has announced his departure from the New York Jets. In his three seasons with the Jets, the California native completed 729 of 1,219 passes (59.8 percent) for 8,097 yards, 45 touchdowns, 39 interceptions, and posted a 78.6 rating. He also ran for 473 yards and nine scores.
Darnold was the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He will be joining Tampa Bay as their quarterback prospect.
New York traded up to select Darnold out of USC. The trade sent the Jets' first-round draft choice (third overall) and fourth-round selection (110th overall) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The deal gave the Bucs a chance to take Darnold over Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield or Wyoming's Josh Allen.
In Darnold's final season at USC, he led the Trojans to a 12-1 record and their third straight No. 1 ranking in both polls. He passed for 3,718 yards and 36 touchdowns against only seven interceptions. He also ran for 910 yards and 14 more scores during that span.
Darnold is expected to become the starting quarterback for the Buccaneers. He will be replacing Jameis Winston who had several off-the-field issues while at Florida State.
As Douglas hung up, the Jets' franchise trajectory had shifted. Darnold was given a fresh start in Carolina as a result of the transaction. Douglas received a sixth-round selection this year, as well as second- and fourth-round picks in 2022. The latter two picks will be high because of their positions -- No. 2 and No. 4 -- which means they could end up being even higher picks if/when Darnold fails to live up to expectations.
In short, both teams benefited from this trade. It's just a matter of how much. I believe that Doug Douglas will be able to help bring out the best in Ryan Darnold long term, especially since he is only 25 years old. He has already shown signs of being a solid quarterback who can lead a team on and off the field. He only had one season where he played over 15 games (10 starts), so there is room for improvement despite having some success early on in his career. He won't ever be considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league but he is a good backup who can win games himself. He also adds experience to a position group that lacks it behind Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater.
The Jets will still be able to succeed or fail with Ryan Darnold at the helm, but having a veteran backup to him will only help their chances of making it to the postseason.