NY Jets: Sam Darnold’s trade value will hinge on final three games

NY Jets, Sam Darnold (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Sam Darnold (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets hope to see Sam Darnold improve his trade value over the last three games.

The NY Jets seem well on their way to acquiring the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Unfortunately for fans of the team, the franchise is now favored to become only the third team in league history to complete a season with an 0-16 record.

While this adds another layer of misery to an already dysfunctional organization, it also gives the team the best odds of landing a potential generational quarterback such as Trevor Lawrence.

Which begs an interesting question — what will become of former third overall pick Sam Darnold?

It is not a secret that Darnold has struggled mightily in his first three seasons as a professional. He currently holds an unimpressive 11-24 record with 41 touchdowns and 37 interceptions. Add in an additional nine career fumbles and the former USC star has become a turnover nightmare.

Does the quarterback have a chance to salvage his value? And what might a move away from Darnold look like? Let’s dive in.

Sam Darnold’s value for the NY Jets

This is the most intriguing aspect of a potential split between Darnold and the Jets. On one hand, the quarterback has failed to live up to any of the hype or expectations surrounding his arrival in New York.

Once considered to be the savior of the franchise, Darnold now finds himself as a likely casualty of the next top rookie. However, fans and analysts realize that the former Pac-12 MVP has faced a nearly insurmountable number of hurdles in his young career.

Coach Todd Bowles, who was responsible for drafting the quarterback, was relieved of his duties after just one season together.

Adam Gase, who has become something of a league-wide laughing stock after failing to recapture the magic he experienced as the offensive coordinator of Peyton Manning and the record-setting Denver Broncos passing attack, has since been responsible for his “development.”

Additionally, Darnold has had very little skill-position help during his tenure in Florham Park. Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder have served as his two best receivers.

To add salt to the wound, Anderson is experiencing a career season with an average quarterback in his first season with the Carolina Panthers.

It will be interesting to see which NFL front offices will show interest in Darnold if he becomes available via trade. Despite the early struggles, the 23-year-old is still capable of a career resurgence in the right system.

The combination of his young age, his colligate pedigree, and his uphill battle with the Jets will surely leave heathier franchises confident in their rehabilitation abilities.

The potential partners for the NY Jets in a Sam Darnold trade

Which teams might be interested in a washed-up Darnold? There could be several. The Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, and New Orleans Saints all have skilled rosters with aging signal-callers. New Orleans in particular, has a great reputation for developing quarterbacks.

Additionally, teams like the Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Washington Football Team are on the cusp of the purgatory of quarterback mediocrity. Perhaps any of these franchises would be interested in taking a flier.

One final option, which could be an absolute disaster for New York, would be the rival New England Patriots. While it is nearly unthinkable for the Jets to offer a young quarterback to a division rival, New England does have a clear need.

Although, it is difficult to imagine Bill Belichick paying a price high enough to make this risky move worth it for Gang Green.

The return the NY Jets would receive for Sam Darnold

There has been speculation that the Jets could land something as high as a first-round selection for the former star. While this may be wishful thinking, should Darnold end his season on an encouraging high note, it would go a long way towards rebuilding his value.

Opposing franchises can assuredly see the writing on the wall. There is no conceivable path in which Darnold returns as the starting signal-caller in 2021.

Franchises that may be interested will undoubtedly be watching and assessing the quarterback as he attempts to steady the ship and lead his team toward positive signs at the close of 2020.

I would be shocked if the Jets could steal a pick in the first round in exchange for their former franchise player. However, should the next few weeks go well, there may be a path for the team to realistically request a second or third-round pick in exchange for Darnold.

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A pick in this range, in addition to their two first and two third-round 2021 selections, could place the team in an excellent position to rebuild through a since draft class.

What do you think is a realistic return in a Sam Darnold trade?