The NY Jets‘ trade of Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers will have ripple effects for many years to come. This franchise-defining trade doesn’t happen if the Jets don’t fall apart in 2020 and end up with the second overall pick.
After months of speculation and polarizing debate amongst pundits and the team’s fanbase, it finally happened. Sam Darnold is no longer the franchise quarterback of the NY Jets.
A year ago at this time, the thought of a potential Sam Darnold trade would have been an absurdity. Darnold was coming off a promising rookie campaign in 2018 and a strong finish to the 2019 season, where the green and white’s chosen one battled through adversity and led the Jets to a 6-2 finish in the second half of the season.
Darnold hadn’t reached his potential or expectations at that point, but the early returns were promising. Then 2020 happened. Darnold regressed, partly because of his inability to improve upon his weaknesses as a passer, but largely due to circumstances beyond his control.
The Jets failed their franchise quarterback.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas failed Sam Darnold by not supporting him the same way the Buffalo Bills did for Josh Allen. In contrast, the Bills went out and got Allen a true No. 1 receiver in Stefon Diggs.
The bold move by Buffalo helped Allen make a significant leap in year three. On the other hand, Douglas dropped the ball, nickel-and-dimed the team’s best receiver in Robby Anderson, and then failed to replace him. Douglas publicly admitted that he short-changed Darnold.
The Jets left Sam Darnold to sink or swim in the turbulent ocean of 2020, and he drowned. Along with him, died another great hope for the NY Jets franchise.
The absurdity of trading Darnold before the 2020 season became a real possibility as last season unfolded, and it’s now become a reality.
Douglas finally pulled the trigger on what would have been an unthinkable move a year ago. Trading what was previously the franchise’s best hope for a new one.
The dust has barely settled on the Sam Darnold trade to Carolina, and while it may seem premature to declare the winners and losers of this deal.
Only time can reveal who will benefit the most from the trade. However, the initial fallout suggests who the winners of the Darnold trade are.
Let’s take a look at the winners first.