The New York Jets appear to have cleared the way to draw a number 2 overall pick quarterback and hand over the keys to him on day one.
The Jets have traded Sam Darnold for a selection for the sixth round in 2021 and a selection for the second and fourth round in 2022 for the Carolina Panthers, the Panthers shared on Twitter.
The jets were traded in 2018 to use number 3 at Darnold. But the USC product had far from a smooth transition to the NFL, and much of it had to do with the constant turmoil the Jets found themselves in. He has already played for two head coaches in three seasons.
In 2019, the Jets replaced Mike Maccagnan, who designed Darnold, with current general manager Joe Douglas.
“I want to publicly acknowledge the commitment, dedication and professionalism that Sam has shown with the Jets,” Douglas said in a statement on Tuesday. “He’s a die-hard, talented footballer whose NFL history has not yet been written. While all of these things are true, this move is in the best interests of both this team and him in the short and long term. We thank Sam for all of his work on behalf of this organization and wish him all the best as he continues his career. “
The Jets fired Todd Bowles after Darnold’s rookie year and this offseason sacked Adam Gase after two tumultuous seasons. Robert Saleh was hired as head coach, and Darnold faced an uncertain future as the organization held the second overall win and was positioned to pick up one of the best quarterbacks on this year’s draft.
Jets Brass, including Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, attended BYU quarterback Zach Wilson’s impressive pro day two weeks ago.
LaFleur worked closely with the Kyle Shanahan and San Francisco quarterbacks while serving as the 49ers passing coordinator for the past two seasons. Mike LaFleur, the brother of Packer’s head coach Matt LaFleur, is tasked with developing his rookie face in the franchise and devising an offense around him that will help maximize his skills while he learns the NFL on the fly.
The Panthers appeared to be entering the quarterback market after Teddy Bridgewater failed to live up to new coach Matt Rhule’s expectations last season. Carolina was interested in Deshaun Watson, whose relationship with the Texans has deteriorated. Houston had failed to move on trade talks, but now Watson faces an uncertain future amid 22 civil sexual misconduct lawsuits brought against him by massage therapists.
Carolina also chased quarterback Matthew Stafford, who the Detroit Lions sold to the Los Angeles Rams, before the team’s focus shifted to Darnold.
The Panthers are expected to exercise the option for the fifth year on Darnold’s contract, giving him two seasons to restart his career at Carolina. Offensive coordinator Joe Brady, considered one of the brightest youngsters in the NFL, will be tasked with helping Darnold, who finished 35th in the league in 2020 with a pass rating of 72.7, help them realize their potential from which it emerged University.