The New York Jets hold the No. 2 pick in this month’s NFL Draft and the expectation from just about everyone is that they will take quarterback Zach Wilson out of BYU with that selection. The issue facing New York is that they have a former top-3 pick from 2018, Sam Darnold, currently under center and thus far it just has not worked out with the former USC signal-caller.
All of the Jets issues are impossible to pin on Darnold, and a fresh start felt like the best outcome for all parties involved. The question was where Darnold would end up and who would be willing to part with a trade package the Jets would want for him, and we got the answer on Monday as the Carolina Panthers sent a 2021 sixth, 2022 second, and 2022 fourth round pick to New York for the 23-year-old quarterback.
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
The Panthers confirmed the deal with a sensational tweet.
The Panthers need at quarterback was well known, as Teddy Bridgewater didn’t take the reins last year in the manner they hoped and many expected them to get in the mix for one of the five stellar quarterbacks at the top of this year’s draft with the No. 8 overall pick. However, by dealing for Darnold and sending some serious draft capital out to get him, one would think they are setting their sights elsewhere with the eighth pick and seeking to build depth around Darnold on offense or beef up their defense with a top 10 talent. Either way, it’s an interesting move from Carolina, and one that will be debated heavily based on how Darnold performs compared to the quarterbacks that end up taken at the top of this year’s draft.
With there being chatter someone like Justin Fields might be dropping, it stands to reason that the Panthers making this move is an indication that they aren’t buying that smoke or that, for whatever reason, they’re also among the teams out on the Buckeyes QB. We’ll find out how the quarterback situation at the top of the 2021 Draft shakes out later this month, but for now the Panthers seem to believe they’ve landed their man without having to use a first to get him.