New York Jets Trade Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers

Sam Darnold With Panthers Background

  • The Jets have traded Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers.
  • Darnold failed to live up to lofty expectations in New York and is coming off his worst season ever in 2020.
  • A change in scenery could benefit Darnold who will have a better offense around him in Carolina.

The New York Jets ended months of speculation about their quarterback plans when theft traded QB Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers on Monday.

In exchange for Darnold, the Panthers gave up their sixth round pick of the 2021 draft and their second and fourth round picks of the 2022 NFL draft.

Carolina still has last season’s starter Terry Bridgewater, Will Grier, and Tommy Stevens on their roster but it’s likely that Darnold will head to training camp as QB1 on the Panthers’ depth chart and be given the chance to prove that he is the savior that the Jets thought he would be when they drafted him 3rd overall in the 2018 draft.

Failing to Live Up to Expectations

Darnold failed to live up to the huge expectations in New York. He showed some promise towards the end of his rookie season but regressed under former head coach Adam Games. He went 13-25 as a starter with 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions while completing 59.8% of his passes. He is coming off his worst season where he played in 12 games and threw for 2,208 passing yards with 9 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.

Since entering the league in 2018, Darnold ranks last in completion percentage, TD-INT ratio, and passer rating. He has also been slowed by injury and illness during his career. He missed three games during his rookie season with a sprained foot, three games during his second year with mononucleosis, and four games last season with a sprained throwing shoulder.

Though he heads to Charlotte with the above numbers and health history, Darnold will only be 24, with three years of NFL experience, when the 2021 campaign begins. He will have a chance to learn under head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady instead of the chaos during Todd Bowles’ last season and two years of tumult under Adam Gase.

Change in Scenery

The Panthers currently have the second worst odds to win the NFC South behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints. They are also far back in the NFC championship odds at +2200. Carolina is also a longshot +5000 to win Super Bowl LVI and the acquisition of Darnold hasn’t changed that, and isn’t expected to do so soon.

But perhaps a change in scenery can help Darnold succeed in Carolina. With the Panthers, he will have a more improved offensive roster around him with Christian McCaffrey as the focal point of the offense. The 6-3 QB will also be reunited with WR Robby Anderson who played with him in New York. The talented D.J. Moore is also another solid passing target while the Panthers can now use their first round pick in this year’s draft to give Darnold more help.

As for the Jets, they have worse odds than the Panthers at +8000 to win Super Bowl LVI. They are expected to draft their next starting quarterback with the 2nd overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft. With the Jacksonville Jaguars expected to pick Trevor Lawrence with the top pick, New York has BYU’s Zach Wilson who is second in the oddsboards of the best NFL betting sites. Ohio’s Justin Fields, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, and Alabama’s Mac Jones round out their next potential options under center.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.