The former No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft is far from a bust just yet. Although his counterparts such as Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield have won playoff games already, Darnold has had a significant disadvantage.
His current situation hasn’t helped him in any way. He’s had two different coaches in three seasons, suffered significant injuries, and hasn’t had a strong offensive line to protect him. Not to mention that he also hasn’t had many offensive weapons around him to help him out.
Despite the excuses that come with Darnold, he’s unfairly being compared to other quarterbacks in the league. For example, Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson are all players who’ve had great success very early into their career.
Many people expect that since Darnold was selected with the No. 3 pick that he should be in their class by now.
At 23-years-old, Darnold is still one of the youngest quarterbacks in the NFL and he’s now entering his fourth season. It’s funny to think about, but he’s still younger than 2020 NFL No. 1 overall selection, Joe Burrow.
So since he’s so young and still has potential, why would the Jets entertain a trade for him? Doesn’t it make as much sense to keep him and see what happens?
Although he may turn into a solid NFL quarterback, there’s just too much baggage right now.
The organization can turn over a new leaf and start fresh with the No. 2 overall pick becoming the next franchise quarterback or trade everything for an established player.
Sure, there’s still a world where Darnold is the starter for the 2021 season opener, but all signs seem to point to him getting traded. And the rumors about what the Jets could receive in return have been running rampant.
As such, here are three already-proposed trade packages that the Jets could entertain for Darnold.
Next: 1. The Deshaun Watson package
1. NY Jets trade Sam Darnold to the Houston Texans
- NY Jets acquire: Deshaun Watson
- Houston Texans acquire: Sam Darnold, Quinnen Williams, Denzel Mims, 2021 No. 2 overall pick, 2021 No. 23 overall pick
If you’re the Jets, do you trade the entire farm for Watson? Obviously you need a star quarterback to be elite in this league, but at what price?
At first glance, this trade seems absolutely insane and something that the team would be crazy to consider.
Williams is one of the league’s best young defensive players and Mims has shown potential that he can be, at the very least, a No. 2 wideout. Package that with the No. 2 and No. 23 overall selections, and that seems far too rich.
If this trade went through, it almost feels like Watson would be back in Houston. Even with Watson putting up great numbers last year, the Texans finished 4-12 and were an abysmal team.
Even though this trade would get the Jets their franchise quarterback, the team would be giving up far too many assets.
The No. 2 and No. 23 selections can change this franchise around, so it doesn’t seem worth it for Watson, despite his star-power, especially when you throw in Williams and Mims.
Next: 2. The likely package
2. NY Jets trade Sam Darnold to the Washington Football Team
- NY Jets acquire: 2021 No. 51 overall pick, 2022 fifth-round pick
- Washington Football Team acquire: Sam Darnold
Washington holds the No. 19 overall pick in this year’s draft, so it’s unclear whether or not they’ll be able to draft a top-four quarterback. Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance should all be off the board by their selection.
If that’s the case, they could draft Mac Jones, who could possibly be available, or they could go an alternative route and trade for someone who’s already in the league. Insert, Sam Darnold.
The Jets aren’t going to be able to steal a first-round pick away from any team in a trade for Darnold. If they were, they should make that trade immediately, no matter where it falls in the first 32 selections.
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Best case scenario for the Jets is acquiring a second-round pick plus a late-round pick and it’s possible that Washington would pay it.
A trade along these lines has been proposed numerous times, but this one specifically comes from Pro Football Focus who laid out this hypothetical scenario last month.
Even after Alex Smith guided them to the playoffs last season, Washington decided to let him go and are now unsure with who their starter will be in 2021.
Washington head coach Ron Rivera would probably rather develop a quarterback through the draft but if they can’t find one they like, Darnold could be their answer and this trade might work out great for both sides.
Next: 3. The Allen Robinson package
3. NY Jets trade Sam Darnold to the Chicago Bears
- New York Jets acquire: Allen Robinson
- Chicago Bears acquire: Sam Darnold, additional draft picks?
This trade seems highly unlikely, but it’s been floating around the internet and is incredibly intriguing.
The Bears need a quarterback and currently hold the No. 20 selection in this year’s draft. Similar to the Washington Football Team, they most likely won’t be able to draft a stud at that spot. They’d either have to trade up significantly or try to find a quarterback via trade or free agency.
Robinson is the team’s No. 1 wideout, but he’s currently a free agent. Although the Bears can place the franchise tag on him to keep him with the team, it doesn’t solve a long-term deal that Robinson would like to sign.
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) March 3, 2021
The Jets could trade Darnold for Robinson straight up and then with the cap space they have, could easily sign Robinson to a long-term deal that he’d appreciate.
Robinson has been flirting with the Jets on Twitter recently, liking a lot of their content, so it seems like he’d be open to playing in New York.
These types of trades don’t happen that often in the NFL, but the Bears need a quarterback and the Jets need a star receiver.
Now, it’s very likely that the Jets would have to throw in additional draft capital to make this work. But remember, Robinson would be playing on a one-year deal, would already want out, and would need to be extended.
His value would therefore take a hit.
And after DeAndre Hopkins got traded with a fourth-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals last year for David Johnson, a second-round and fourth-round pick, anything seems possible in this league.