NY Jets: Trading Sam Darnold to Panthers was best choice for both sides

NY Jets, Sam Darnold (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Sam Darnold (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Entering the 2021 NFL offseason, NY Jets general manager Joe Douglas knew he had to take care of the quarterback situation. Even three years into his career, starter Sam Darnold remained as big of a question mark as any.

And with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jets had to make a decision.

The first option was that the Jets trade Darnold and draft a quarterback. Number two was to keep Darnold, trade down from two, and acquire significant draft capital to continue to build around him. Or number three, keep Darnold and draft a quarterback.

With all these options, Jets fans have been speculating what Douglas would do at quarterback. Then, the decision came in on Monday.

Filed to ESPN: Jets trading QB Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for a 2021 sixth-round pick and second- and fourth-round picks in 2022, per sources.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 5, 2021

Gang Green acquired significant draft capital for their starting quarterback, even though the headlining picks in return do not come until 2022.

It leaves the Jets with only 2020 fourth-round pick James Morgan and Mike White on the roster, signaling that a major addition will come following the conclusion of the draft.

And no, chances are it will not end with either Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson wearing Gotham Green. Rather, it ends with Joe Douglas properly evaluating Darnold’s market and accepting the best offer not only for the franchise but for Darnold too.

NY Jets add more draft capital

In his second full offseason with the team, Joe Douglas is finally executing his vision for the Jets. He has always wanted to build through the draft instead of free agency, and it’s obvious with the signings he’s made.

For months, Sam Darnold’s market has been all over the place. It was rumored the Jets could net as high as a late first-round pick for the USC product. There were also rumors that New York would get at best a late third-round pick in return.

Ultimately, Douglas managed to get an excellent package from the Panthers in the trade. The Jets added a 10th selection to their 2021 NFL Draft capital with a sixth-round pick. Nonetheless, the headliner is receiving a second and fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

With those selections, the Jets are set up with two first-round picks (one via Seattle), two second-round picks, and seven more through Round 6 in 2022.

Clearly, Douglas is building quite the cupboard of draft capital moving forward.

More from The Jet Press

Sam Darnold gets weapons

For the past three years, all the talk around the Jets was about Sam Darnold’s lack of weapons. He never had a 1,000-yard rusher or receiver. Darnold also never had much of an offensive line blocking for him up front.

Now, Darnold is going to have weapons galore.

Right off of the bat, Darnold is going to have one of the most talented playmakers in the game in Christian McCaffrey. He also will have receivers D.J. Moore and David Moore to throw to the ball to, as well as tight ends Dan Arnold and Ian Thomas.

And of course, he reunites with Robby Anderson, who topped 1,000 yards receiving in his first season away from the Jets.

The Panthers are a team quietly on the rise, and now get a quarterback with high upside to run their talented offense moving forward.

Both the NY Jets and Sam Darnold get a fresh start

Again, the discussions regarding Sam Darnold’s future and the Jets’ quarterback situation have been the team’s entire offseason. It has been a hot topic of sports discussion for months and is finally over.

Darnold is leaving the bright lights of New York for the welcoming arms of the Panthers and head coach Matt Rhule. Meanwhile, the Jets can now move on from the Darnold talk and focus on which of the 2021 NFL Draft quarterback prospects will be leading Gang Green into the future.

Next. NY Jets fill major needs in post-free agency 7-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft

All in all, the Jets and Joe Douglas made the perfect trade as by dealing Sam Darnold to Carolina, they made the best choice for all parties.