NFL rumors: Panthers could be surprise suitor for Jets QB Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold, New York Jets. (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Sam Darnold, New York Jets. (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

Should New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold be traded, it might be to the Carolina Panthers.

The New York Jets might end up trading quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers.

Only three years ago was Darnold brought into the Big Apple as Gang Green’s savior. As it turn out, the franchise quarterback with no bust potential is on the precipice of doing so. Going to the most dysfunctional franchise in the league for the last decade will do a number on the promising draft stock you once had coming out of USC. Now, it seems that Darnold will almost certainly be traded.

The NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo spoke with NFL insider Benjamin Allbright on Denver’s KOA NewsRadio 850 AM and 94.1 FM about all things 2021 NFL Draft. One point of discussion was Darnold’s overall trade value. Garofolo said the Jets will only get a third-round pick for him “and maybe something else”. He also said that if Darnold is traded, Carolina will be a top suitor for him.

Could Sam Darnold be traded from the New York Jets to the Carolina Panthers?

The more you think about it, the more Darnold to Carolina makes sense. Even though the Panthers have the No. 8 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, they are only going to get like the fourth best quarterback with that selection. He would likely be a developmental project, and the Panthers already have a proven starter under contract in Teddy Bridgewater, who has played for the Jets.

Carolina could use its precious No. 8 overall pick on getting the best player available in a quarterback-rich draft. The Panthers would likely have to part ways with Bridgewater, unless Carolina is totally comfortable with either quarterback riding pine. Given that Carolina is a rebuilding team under a defensive-minded head coach in Matt Rhule, Darnold could work there.

Let’s also not overlook the fact the Panthers still employ wunderkind Joe Brady as their offensive coordinator. This is the guy who served as the LSU Tigers passing game coordinator when they won it all with Joe Burrow as the greatest single-season quarterback in college football history. To say it would be a quantum leap up from Adam Gase to Brady would be a gross understatement.

Overall, Darnold to Carolina would be a tremendous reset for him. Even if they are not expected to do much in the NFC South next year, teams typically “pop” very quickly under Rhule’s rule. It took two years at Temple and three for him at Baylor. So if Darnold is dealt to the Panthers, do not be shocked if the 20-something signal-caller from Southern California is playoff bound by 2023.

Darnold being traded to the Panthers is the good kind of interesting that really makes you think.

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