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How Sam Darnold trade continues to impact New York Jets, Carolina Panthers a year later


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How Sam Darnold trade continues to impact New York Jets, Carolina Panthers a year later


178C392A-AD9F-4DC3-96A4-4DEF9F0191B5.jpeg.4fdb9191e306a2229e46258d3b657287.jpeg

The Panthers were 4-7 in games started by quarterback Sam Darnold last season. John Byrum/Icon Sportswire

On April 5, 2021, the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers -- both looking to upgrade at quarterback -- made a trade that continues to have ramifications for both franchises.

The Jets moved on from Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2018 draft, to clear the way to select BYU's Zach Wilsonwith the second pick of the 2021 NFL draft.

The Panthers gave the Jets a sixth-round pick in 2021, plus second- and fourth-round picks in 2022, because they felt Darnold would be an upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater. They took it one step further and exercised Darnold’s fifth-year option, guaranteeing him $18.8 million in 2022.

The Jets went 4-13 last season and are picking fourth in this year’s draft. The Panthers, who finished 5-12, pick sixth.

Winners? Losers?

Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian summed it up best from the Panthers’ perspective, saying it put the team “between a rock and a hard place" in terms of moving forward. Their failed attempt to trade for Deshaun Watson, now with the Cleveland Browns, only magnifies that.

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said the trade "worked out really well" for the Jets. While acknowledging Wilson "didn't have the best rookie season," McShay also noted, "This was a rebuild and everybody knew it."

The deal had many layers to it. On the one-year anniversary, ESPN NFL Nation reporters Rich Cimini (Jets) and David Newton (Panthers) look back and ahead:

One year later, how is the trade impacting the teams?

Newton: The simple answer is "everywhere."

The Panthers were so convinced Darnold wasn’t the answer going forward after he went 4-7 as the starter in 2021 that they were willing to give three first-round picks, at least one player and additional draft picks to Houston for Watson, who still faces 22 civil suits against him alleging sexual assault and inappropriate conduct during massage sessions. And, remember, Darnold wasn’t their top choice last year; they first made runs at Watson and Matthew Stafford.

That Darnold posted a 13-25 record with the Jets, and statistically ranked among the worst quarterbacks in the NFL for three years, should have been a red flag. One could argue this move showed a bit of arrogance on the part of coach Matt Rhule and former offensive coordinator Joe Brady, thinking they could reinvent Darnold. Instead, Brady was fired with five games left in the season, Rhule landed on the hot seat and Darnold again ranked among the league’s worst quarterbacks (29th in QBR in 2021).

Now, the Panthers are considering using the No. 6 pick in the 2021 draft on a quarterback class -- headlined by Liberty’s Malik Willis, Pitt’s Kenny Pickettand Ole Miss’ Matt Corral -- that isn’t considered strong. Because of the Darnold trade, and the trade for cornerback CJ Henderson that cost them a third-rounder, the Panthers don't have a pick after the first round until the fourth. Also, Darnold’s cap hit forced them to creatively restructure deals to clear gobs of cap space -- first to make a run for Watson and then to rebuild the roster.

Despite all this, the team is left staring at this reality: Darnold may be their starter again.

"I think it's cumulative; they didn't do it on a one-year basis," ESPN front-office analyst Mike Tannenbaum said. "Darnold is still there, and he's their starting quarterback this season. There's value in that. He could turn out to be pretty good. With these young quarterbacks, you just don't know yet. ... The issue with Darnold for me is, can he cut down on the turnovers (52 interceptions, 29 fumbles in four NFL seasons)?"

Cimini: The trade will impact the Jets in a big way during the draft, especially on Day 2. Having that extra second-round pick (38th overall) provides tremendous flexibility.

They can trade it for a player (it was offered when they tried to acquire Tyreek Hill) or they can package it with their own second-rounder (35th) to jump up into the middle of the first round. Or they can stay put and take a player, who, in theory, should be an eventual starter.

The sixth-round pick that came last year from the Darnold deal was traded and parlayed into two players -- defensive back Jason Pinnock and defensive tackle Jonathan Marshall. Both project as 2022 backups. Overall, the Jets received excellent value for Darnold, an injury-prone quarterback coming off a bad year.

Now let's talk big picture.

The Jets drafted Zach Wilson No. 2 overall in 2021 just 3 years after drafting Sam Darnold No. 3 overall. Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports

Symbolically, the Wilson-for-Darnold swap dovetailed with the hiring of coach Robert Saleh -- a fresh, new start for everyone. But let's be clear: This wasn't an easy decision for the Jets. Sources said they went back and forth and could've easily stayed with Darnold, but the financial component -- the benefit of a rookie QB contract -- was a key reason for the trade. They also fell in love with Wilson during the scouting process and knew they could have him with the second pick. They became the first team in the common draft era (since 1967) to select two quarterbacks within the top three overall picks in a four-year span.

On the field, the Jets have yet to feel a positive impact from the trade. With Wilson at quarterback, they were a bottom-six team in passer rating for the fourth straight season. They expect big improvement from him. If Wilson doesn't pan out, they will be starting over in a couple of years with a new regime.

Where would they be now if they hadn't made the trade?

Newton: Bridgewater likely would have remained the starter in 2021 instead of being traded to the Denver Broncos, with the Panthers paying most of his salary. Carolina would have retained their second- and fourth-round picks in this year’s draft and not had Darnold’s $4.7 million cap hit last season and $18.9 million this season.

That could have afforded the team the luxury of selecting a left tackle at No. 6 in this year's draft and perhaps still getting a quarterback in the second round. That’s not to say Carolina won’t take a tackle at six, but the class is deep and the team appears to consider only the top two worthy of the sixth pick (Alabama’s Evan Neal and North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu).

The Panthers would have had less trouble in 2022 trading Bridgewater, who would be entering the third year of his deal, than Darnold. No team appears interested in taking on Darnold’s cap number based on performance.

Carolina also may have used the eighth pick last season on a quarterback -- either Justin Fields (No. 11 to Chicago Bears) or Mac Jones (No. 15, New England Patriots) -- instead of cornerback Jaycee Horn. Either would have been rated ahead of any quarterback in this year’s class. Then they for sure get a left tackle this year or trade back because they already have their franchise quarterback.

The Panthers also wouldn’t have opened themselves to criticism for pursuing Watson.

And Rhule’s seat might not be quite so hot.

Cimini: The Jets probably would be in the same boat as the Panthers -- quarterback purgatory, looking to find a long-term answer in a draft that lacks a blue-chip passer. Watson? They did explore the possibility of trading for him last offseason, a source said, but that was before the sexual misconduct allegations became public. That pretty much removed him from the Jets' radar.

The fascinating part of the 'what if?' is what the roster would look like if they had kept Darnold. If they had used the second pick on a non-quarterback, the choice may have been wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who enjoyed a spectacular rookie season with the Cincinnati Bengals. With Chase in the fold, there would've been no reason to pursue Hill. They'd be set at receiver without having to shell out a massive contract and trade compensation.

With Darnold, they could've opted to trade the second pick to a quarterback-needy team, bringing back multiple first-rounders. Think about it: The Philadelphia Eagles got three first-rounders for the third pick, dropping to 12th. That would've provided a major infusion of talent for the Jets. General manager Joe Douglas knew he was sitting on a gold mine, but he decided to focus on the quarterback position -- and he picked Wilson over Darnold. He can sleep better at night, knowing he has quarterback certainty in 2022. He hopes it goes well beyond '22.

"It depends on how well Zach Wilson turns out," Tannenbaum said. "[The draft compensation] is great, but to me it's all about can Zach Wilson take the next step? There were certainly reasons to be encouraged toward the end of the year."

Bottom line, was it a good trade?

NewtonNo. This ranks as arguably the worst trade in franchise history. It’s worse than giving Washington two first-round picks for Sean Gilbert in 1998 after the defensive lineman sat out the 1997 season in a contract dispute. You can make a mistake on a defensive lineman and move forward. A mistake on a quarterback can set a franchise back for years, and this one apparently has done that, barring some miracle turnaround by Darnold. For all the ramifications in the previous two sections, this went from a potential win-win scenario for Carolina to a lose-lose.

Cimini: The Jets got excellent value for the player -- a player who continued to regress -- so it was a strong trade from a transactional standpoint. It will get better if one of the draft picks develops into a front-line player, and it will be an all-timer if Wilson becomes a star. Either way, the Douglas and Robert Saleh regime will be defined by the outcome of their quarterback swap.

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This trade and how it’s had a trickle down effect of opportunity cost and “what if’s” in affecting roster decisions for both franchises a year later in such a significant way has demonstrated that JD isn’t as clueless as some have whined about. If he can hit in this draft with his picks and/or astute maneuvering in trade backs then I’ll be sold and forgive the 2020 pandemic draft as a result of poor circumstances. 

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36 minutes ago, 92ShaunEllis92 said:

How Sam Darnold trade continues to impact New York Jets, Carolina Panthers a year later


178C392A-AD9F-4DC3-96A4-4DEF9F0191B5.jpeg.4fdb9191e306a2229e46258d3b657287.jpeg

The Panthers were 4-7 in games started by quarterback Sam Darnold last season. John Byrum/Icon Sportswire

On April 5, 2021, the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers -- both looking to upgrade at quarterback -- made a trade that continues to have ramifications for both franchises.

The Jets moved on from Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2018 draft, to clear the way to select BYU's Zach Wilsonwith the second pick of the 2021 NFL draft.

The Panthers gave the Jets a sixth-round pick in 2021, plus second- and fourth-round picks in 2022, because they felt Darnold would be an upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater. They took it one step further and exercised Darnold’s fifth-year option, guaranteeing him $18.8 million in 2022.

The Jets went 4-13 last season and are picking fourth in this year’s draft. The Panthers, who finished 5-12, pick sixth.

Winners? Losers?

Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian summed it up best from the Panthers’ perspective, saying it put the team “between a rock and a hard place" in terms of moving forward. Their failed attempt to trade for Deshaun Watson, now with the Cleveland Browns, only magnifies that.

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said the trade "worked out really well" for the Jets. While acknowledging Wilson "didn't have the best rookie season," McShay also noted, "This was a rebuild and everybody knew it."

The deal had many layers to it. On the one-year anniversary, ESPN NFL Nation reporters Rich Cimini (Jets) and David Newton (Panthers) look back and ahead:

One year later, how is the trade impacting the teams?

Newton: The simple answer is "everywhere."

The Panthers were so convinced Darnold wasn’t the answer going forward after he went 4-7 as the starter in 2021 that they were willing to give three first-round picks, at least one player and additional draft picks to Houston for Watson, who still faces 22 civil suits against him alleging sexual assault and inappropriate conduct during massage sessions. And, remember, Darnold wasn’t their top choice last year; they first made runs at Watson and Matthew Stafford.

That Darnold posted a 13-25 record with the Jets, and statistically ranked among the worst quarterbacks in the NFL for three years, should have been a red flag. One could argue this move showed a bit of arrogance on the part of coach Matt Rhule and former offensive coordinator Joe Brady, thinking they could reinvent Darnold. Instead, Brady was fired with five games left in the season, Rhule landed on the hot seat and Darnold again ranked among the league’s worst quarterbacks (29th in QBR in 2021).

Now, the Panthers are considering using the No. 6 pick in the 2021 draft on a quarterback class -- headlined by Liberty’s Malik Willis, Pitt’s Kenny Pickettand Ole Miss’ Matt Corral -- that isn’t considered strong. Because of the Darnold trade, and the trade for cornerback CJ Henderson that cost them a third-rounder, the Panthers don't have a pick after the first round until the fourth. Also, Darnold’s cap hit forced them to creatively restructure deals to clear gobs of cap space -- first to make a run for Watson and then to rebuild the roster.

Despite all this, the team is left staring at this reality: Darnold may be their starter again.

"I think it's cumulative; they didn't do it on a one-year basis," ESPN front-office analyst Mike Tannenbaum said. "Darnold is still there, and he's their starting quarterback this season. There's value in that. He could turn out to be pretty good. With these young quarterbacks, you just don't know yet. ... The issue with Darnold for me is, can he cut down on the turnovers (52 interceptions, 29 fumbles in four NFL seasons)?"

Cimini: The trade will impact the Jets in a big way during the draft, especially on Day 2. Having that extra second-round pick (38th overall) provides tremendous flexibility.

They can trade it for a player (it was offered when they tried to acquire Tyreek Hill) or they can package it with their own second-rounder (35th) to jump up into the middle of the first round. Or they can stay put and take a player, who, in theory, should be an eventual starter.

The sixth-round pick that came last year from the Darnold deal was traded and parlayed into two players -- defensive back Jason Pinnock and defensive tackle Jonathan Marshall. Both project as 2022 backups. Overall, the Jets received excellent value for Darnold, an injury-prone quarterback coming off a bad year.

Now let's talk big picture.

The Jets drafted Zach Wilson No. 2 overall in 2021 just 3 years after drafting Sam Darnold No. 3 overall. Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports

Symbolically, the Wilson-for-Darnold swap dovetailed with the hiring of coach Robert Saleh -- a fresh, new start for everyone. But let's be clear: This wasn't an easy decision for the Jets. Sources said they went back and forth and could've easily stayed with Darnold, but the financial component -- the benefit of a rookie QB contract -- was a key reason for the trade. They also fell in love with Wilson during the scouting process and knew they could have him with the second pick. They became the first team in the common draft era (since 1967) to select two quarterbacks within the top three overall picks in a four-year span.

On the field, the Jets have yet to feel a positive impact from the trade. With Wilson at quarterback, they were a bottom-six team in passer rating for the fourth straight season. They expect big improvement from him. If Wilson doesn't pan out, they will be starting over in a couple of years with a new regime.

Where would they be now if they hadn't made the trade?

Newton: Bridgewater likely would have remained the starter in 2021 instead of being traded to the Denver Broncos, with the Panthers paying most of his salary. Carolina would have retained their second- and fourth-round picks in this year’s draft and not had Darnold’s $4.7 million cap hit last season and $18.9 million this season.

That could have afforded the team the luxury of selecting a left tackle at No. 6 in this year's draft and perhaps still getting a quarterback in the second round. That’s not to say Carolina won’t take a tackle at six, but the class is deep and the team appears to consider only the top two worthy of the sixth pick (Alabama’s Evan Neal and North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu).

The Panthers would have had less trouble in 2022 trading Bridgewater, who would be entering the third year of his deal, than Darnold. No team appears interested in taking on Darnold’s cap number based on performance.

Carolina also may have used the eighth pick last season on a quarterback -- either Justin Fields (No. 11 to Chicago Bears) or Mac Jones (No. 15, New England Patriots) -- instead of cornerback Jaycee Horn. Either would have been rated ahead of any quarterback in this year’s class. Then they for sure get a left tackle this year or trade back because they already have their franchise quarterback.

The Panthers also wouldn’t have opened themselves to criticism for pursuing Watson.

And Rhule’s seat might not be quite so hot.

Cimini: The Jets probably would be in the same boat as the Panthers -- quarterback purgatory, looking to find a long-term answer in a draft that lacks a blue-chip passer. Watson? They did explore the possibility of trading for him last offseason, a source said, but that was before the sexual misconduct allegations became public. That pretty much removed him from the Jets' radar.

The fascinating part of the 'what if?' is what the roster would look like if they had kept Darnold. If they had used the second pick on a non-quarterback, the choice may have been wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who enjoyed a spectacular rookie season with the Cincinnati Bengals. With Chase in the fold, there would've been no reason to pursue Hill. They'd be set at receiver without having to shell out a massive contract and trade compensation.

With Darnold, they could've opted to trade the second pick to a quarterback-needy team, bringing back multiple first-rounders. Think about it: The Philadelphia Eagles got three first-rounders for the third pick, dropping to 12th. That would've provided a major infusion of talent for the Jets. General manager Joe Douglas knew he was sitting on a gold mine, but he decided to focus on the quarterback position -- and he picked Wilson over Darnold. He can sleep better at night, knowing he has quarterback certainty in 2022. He hopes it goes well beyond '22.

"It depends on how well Zach Wilson turns out," Tannenbaum said. "[The draft compensation] is great, but to me it's all about can Zach Wilson take the next step? There were certainly reasons to be encouraged toward the end of the year."

Bottom line, was it a good trade?

NewtonNo. This ranks as arguably the worst trade in franchise history. It’s worse than giving Washington two first-round picks for Sean Gilbert in 1998 after the defensive lineman sat out the 1997 season in a contract dispute. You can make a mistake on a defensive lineman and move forward. A mistake on a quarterback can set a franchise back for years, and this one apparently has done that, barring some miracle turnaround by Darnold. For all the ramifications in the previous two sections, this went from a potential win-win scenario for Carolina to a lose-lose.

Cimini: The Jets got excellent value for the player -- a player who continued to regress -- so it was a strong trade from a transactional standpoint. It will get better if one of the draft picks develops into a front-line player, and it will be an all-timer if Wilson becomes a star. Either way, the Douglas and Robert Saleh regime will be defined by the outcome of their quarterback swap.

I dont know why but i love another teams misery. The truth is they should have just drafted thier own guy. I think the watson trade if it went through woudl have been wrong move too. IT could have been great but I just dont thinks o.

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The Panthers allegedly “having” to draft a QB at #6 also helps the Jets whether they seek a trade down or not. Obviously, #4 becomes a hot pick for someone who wants a QB but, even if they don’t trade, at least one QB should be off the board before #10. 
 
Giants are another wildcard. They could draft a QB themselves, or they could trade out to someone who does leaving the Panthers holding the bag. QBs at both #5 & 6 isn’t impossible. It’ll be interesting to see how much hype Willis gets over the next few weeks, and whether Detroit decides to take the plunge at #2 (please!). 
 
Panthers are in pure desperation mode, though, and are having the same trouble getting out of it that the Jets are having. Players don’t want to play for bad teams. 

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4 minutes ago, ZachEY said:

image.thumb.png.3fab1553dd84c25ccfe25b4c0f6246fd.png

This is actually a really good chart and the surprising thing is how good Zach fares here. This should give everyone real hope about Zach's progression. These stats ignore drops I believe.

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7 minutes ago, 92ShaunEllis92 said:

This trade and how it’s had a trickle down effect of opportunity cost and “what if’s” in affecting roster decisions for both franchises a year later in such a significant way has demonstrated that JD isn’t as clueless as some have whined about. If he can hit in this draft with his picks and/or astute maneuvering in trade backs then I’ll be sold and forgive the 2020 pandemic draft as a result of poor circumstances. 

Here's how it all works imo... JD is doing fine, to be a great GM you get lucky on one player and one position and that's QB. If you look across the league the teams we consider to have elite QB's always seem to win at a much much higher percentage whether they draft good or not. Most of Belichick's drafts have sucked yet they won 6 SB's . Douglas made the correct move based on the fact Darnold sucked and he moved on and that is the best thing he could have done at the time. Plenty of other things Douglas has gotten right like trades ands not over paying for FA's but he has been bitten by the injury bug at an alarming rate and I for one do not hold him accountable for that. The guy obviously knows what he's doing but when it comes to picking college players that will translate to the NFL you almost have to be more lucky than good. We need a few years in a row with great drafts and we need Zach Wilson to be that lucky charm, if he's not, this team will not win much no matter how good we draft or how good the team is built. We are heading in the right direction and the first move to that was sending Darnold to suck elsewhere even in the face of some critics who said we shouldn't.

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sam was much better than wilson was year one in his rookie year-he never developed-wilson based on actual stats and game performance last year was not good at all. We as fans HOPE he is good but his rookie year was nothing to get excited about-Sam's was better and he is below avg

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17 minutes ago, johnnysd said:

This is actually a really good chart and the surprising thing is how good Zach fares here. This should give everyone real hope about Zach's progression. These stats ignore drops I believe.

but yet he threw more ints than tds and had less than 2500 yards so he actually fared poorly on the field-hopefully year two he blossoms but jet but so far his rookie year was a disappointment

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1 hour ago, 92ShaunEllis92 said:

How Sam Darnold trade continues to impact New York Jets, Carolina Panthers a year later


178C392A-AD9F-4DC3-96A4-4DEF9F0191B5.jpeg.4fdb9191e306a2229e46258d3b657287.jpeg

The Panthers were 4-7 in games started by quarterback Sam Darnold last season. John Byrum/Icon Sportswire

On April 5, 2021, the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers -- both looking to upgrade at quarterback -- made a trade that continues to have ramifications for both franchises.

The Jets moved on from Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2018 draft, to clear the way to select BYU's Zach Wilsonwith the second pick of the 2021 NFL draft.

The Panthers gave the Jets a sixth-round pick in 2021, plus second- and fourth-round picks in 2022, because they felt Darnold would be an upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater. They took it one step further and exercised Darnold’s fifth-year option, guaranteeing him $18.8 million in 2022.

The Jets went 4-13 last season and are picking fourth in this year’s draft. The Panthers, who finished 5-12, pick sixth.

Winners? Losers?

Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian summed it up best from the Panthers’ perspective, saying it put the team “between a rock and a hard place" in terms of moving forward. Their failed attempt to trade for Deshaun Watson, now with the Cleveland Browns, only magnifies that.

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said the trade "worked out really well" for the Jets. While acknowledging Wilson "didn't have the best rookie season," McShay also noted, "This was a rebuild and everybody knew it."

The deal had many layers to it. On the one-year anniversary, ESPN NFL Nation reporters Rich Cimini (Jets) and David Newton (Panthers) look back and ahead:

One year later, how is the trade impacting the teams?

Newton: The simple answer is "everywhere."

The Panthers were so convinced Darnold wasn’t the answer going forward after he went 4-7 as the starter in 2021 that they were willing to give three first-round picks, at least one player and additional draft picks to Houston for Watson, who still faces 22 civil suits against him alleging sexual assault and inappropriate conduct during massage sessions. And, remember, Darnold wasn’t their top choice last year; they first made runs at Watson and Matthew Stafford.

That Darnold posted a 13-25 record with the Jets, and statistically ranked among the worst quarterbacks in the NFL for three years, should have been a red flag. One could argue this move showed a bit of arrogance on the part of coach Matt Rhule and former offensive coordinator Joe Brady, thinking they could reinvent Darnold. Instead, Brady was fired with five games left in the season, Rhule landed on the hot seat and Darnold again ranked among the league’s worst quarterbacks (29th in QBR in 2021).

Now, the Panthers are considering using the No. 6 pick in the 2021 draft on a quarterback class -- headlined by Liberty’s Malik Willis, Pitt’s Kenny Pickettand Ole Miss’ Matt Corral -- that isn’t considered strong. Because of the Darnold trade, and the trade for cornerback CJ Henderson that cost them a third-rounder, the Panthers don't have a pick after the first round until the fourth. Also, Darnold’s cap hit forced them to creatively restructure deals to clear gobs of cap space -- first to make a run for Watson and then to rebuild the roster.

Despite all this, the team is left staring at this reality: Darnold may be their starter again.

"I think it's cumulative; they didn't do it on a one-year basis," ESPN front-office analyst Mike Tannenbaum said. "Darnold is still there, and he's their starting quarterback this season. There's value in that. He could turn out to be pretty good. With these young quarterbacks, you just don't know yet. ... The issue with Darnold for me is, can he cut down on the turnovers (52 interceptions, 29 fumbles in four NFL seasons)?"

Cimini: The trade will impact the Jets in a big way during the draft, especially on Day 2. Having that extra second-round pick (38th overall) provides tremendous flexibility.

They can trade it for a player (it was offered when they tried to acquire Tyreek Hill) or they can package it with their own second-rounder (35th) to jump up into the middle of the first round. Or they can stay put and take a player, who, in theory, should be an eventual starter.

The sixth-round pick that came last year from the Darnold deal was traded and parlayed into two players -- defensive back Jason Pinnock and defensive tackle Jonathan Marshall. Both project as 2022 backups. Overall, the Jets received excellent value for Darnold, an injury-prone quarterback coming off a bad year.

Now let's talk big picture.

The Jets drafted Zach Wilson No. 2 overall in 2021 just 3 years after drafting Sam Darnold No. 3 overall. Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports

Symbolically, the Wilson-for-Darnold swap dovetailed with the hiring of coach Robert Saleh -- a fresh, new start for everyone. But let's be clear: This wasn't an easy decision for the Jets. Sources said they went back and forth and could've easily stayed with Darnold, but the financial component -- the benefit of a rookie QB contract -- was a key reason for the trade. They also fell in love with Wilson during the scouting process and knew they could have him with the second pick. They became the first team in the common draft era (since 1967) to select two quarterbacks within the top three overall picks in a four-year span.

On the field, the Jets have yet to feel a positive impact from the trade. With Wilson at quarterback, they were a bottom-six team in passer rating for the fourth straight season. They expect big improvement from him. If Wilson doesn't pan out, they will be starting over in a couple of years with a new regime.

Where would they be now if they hadn't made the trade?

Newton: Bridgewater likely would have remained the starter in 2021 instead of being traded to the Denver Broncos, with the Panthers paying most of his salary. Carolina would have retained their second- and fourth-round picks in this year’s draft and not had Darnold’s $4.7 million cap hit last season and $18.9 million this season.

That could have afforded the team the luxury of selecting a left tackle at No. 6 in this year's draft and perhaps still getting a quarterback in the second round. That’s not to say Carolina won’t take a tackle at six, but the class is deep and the team appears to consider only the top two worthy of the sixth pick (Alabama’s Evan Neal and North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu).

The Panthers would have had less trouble in 2022 trading Bridgewater, who would be entering the third year of his deal, than Darnold. No team appears interested in taking on Darnold’s cap number based on performance.

Carolina also may have used the eighth pick last season on a quarterback -- either Justin Fields (No. 11 to Chicago Bears) or Mac Jones (No. 15, New England Patriots) -- instead of cornerback Jaycee Horn. Either would have been rated ahead of any quarterback in this year’s class. Then they for sure get a left tackle this year or trade back because they already have their franchise quarterback.

The Panthers also wouldn’t have opened themselves to criticism for pursuing Watson.

And Rhule’s seat might not be quite so hot.

Cimini: The Jets probably would be in the same boat as the Panthers -- quarterback purgatory, looking to find a long-term answer in a draft that lacks a blue-chip passer. Watson? They did explore the possibility of trading for him last offseason, a source said, but that was before the sexual misconduct allegations became public. That pretty much removed him from the Jets' radar.

The fascinating part of the 'what if?' is what the roster would look like if they had kept Darnold. If they had used the second pick on a non-quarterback, the choice may have been wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who enjoyed a spectacular rookie season with the Cincinnati Bengals. With Chase in the fold, there would've been no reason to pursue Hill. They'd be set at receiver without having to shell out a massive contract and trade compensation.

With Darnold, they could've opted to trade the second pick to a quarterback-needy team, bringing back multiple first-rounders. Think about it: The Philadelphia Eagles got three first-rounders for the third pick, dropping to 12th. That would've provided a major infusion of talent for the Jets. General manager Joe Douglas knew he was sitting on a gold mine, but he decided to focus on the quarterback position -- and he picked Wilson over Darnold. He can sleep better at night, knowing he has quarterback certainty in 2022. He hopes it goes well beyond '22.

"It depends on how well Zach Wilson turns out," Tannenbaum said. "[The draft compensation] is great, but to me it's all about can Zach Wilson take the next step? There were certainly reasons to be encouraged toward the end of the year."

Bottom line, was it a good trade?

NewtonNo. This ranks as arguably the worst trade in franchise history. It’s worse than giving Washington two first-round picks for Sean Gilbert in 1998 after the defensive lineman sat out the 1997 season in a contract dispute. You can make a mistake on a defensive lineman and move forward. A mistake on a quarterback can set a franchise back for years, and this one apparently has done that, barring some miracle turnaround by Darnold. For all the ramifications in the previous two sections, this went from a potential win-win scenario for Carolina to a lose-lose.

Cimini: The Jets got excellent value for the player -- a player who continued to regress -- so it was a strong trade from a transactional standpoint. It will get better if one of the draft picks develops into a front-line player, and it will be an all-timer if Wilson becomes a star. Either way, the Douglas and Robert Saleh regime will be defined by the outcome of their quarterback swap.

For the Panthers they can start Darnold and if he does badly and they get a high enough draft pick in 2023 they can then use it to pick from a better QB class in that draft. They can also decide on doing like the Jets did and hire a new coach to pair with the new QB. It would be worse for them if Darnold does pretty well in a contract year as they won't get the high draft pick to use on a QB in the 2023 draft class, and even if he got a winning record unless he shows top 5 play they would be stupid to extend his contract and would have to try to get a QB without a high pick. Then likely franchise Darnold just to see if he would keep progressing. The only person that would be good for is Rhule since it would likely buy him more time as HC.

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17 minutes ago, FidelioJet said:

Thanks for posting...I have to be honest, I don't know what I'm reading here.  Love seeing ZW in the middle there, but middle of what is what I can't figure out :-)

Help!

Nice to see Zach where he is. Rebounded from a horrendous start to finish middle of the pack here. Also, Kirk Cousins is the richest, crappiest QB ever. 

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25 minutes ago, FidelioJet said:

Thanks for posting...I have to be honest, I don't know what I'm reading here.  Love seeing ZW in the middle there, but middle of what is what I can't figure out :-)

Help!

You've forgotten all that geometry already?😂

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Lol! They’re showing their desperation and perspiration. Lol 😆 

 

MALIK WILLIS

QB, COLLEGE PLAYER

SI's Albert Breer reports that the Panthers are visiting with quarterbacks Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder, Sam Howell, and Baily Zappe.

Carolina is leaving no stone unturned as they try to figure out the future of a depth chart that currently reads: Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker. The Willis visit had been reported earlier this week, but it's not a surprise that Carolina is trying to gather as much information as they possibly can. The thirst that this team has for a young option is immense and Darnold -- if he even starts the year as the quarterback -- will likely be usurped at some point by any quarterback drafted in the first two rounds. 

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One of the best pieces of news from this thread is the Giants meeting with some of these rookie QBs.

That sends up the Bat signal to other teams that the Giants could be in the market for a QB as high as #5.

Soooo.... teams should want to be ahead of the Giants.

Dc Comics Batman GIF by HBO Max

 

There are multiple scenarios where this seems to be a positive for the Jets.  Either a team like the Saints or Panthers want to come up to #4 or even further ahead to take a QB.  If a QB goes in the Top 3 then that just pushes one more option down to the Jets.

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7 hours ago, ZachEY said:

I'm not reading that, but this tweet:

@k-met57, come get yah boy!

i am almost ready to take the L...going to give Sam one more year, but glad we moved on. To be fair i am on record as for drafting Wilson.

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