The New York Jets may not see much of a return if they plan to trade Sam Darnold and start over at quarterback, a new report claims.
With the Jets yet to win this season and Darnold struggling, there is growing speculation that the team could move on from the third-year signal caller and spark a full rebuild. As ESPN noted, some league insiders believe that the team would have difficulty in getting a return anywhere close to the high first-round pick they originally used to grab him in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Jets traded up to take him, raising expectations that he would become a franchise quarterback.
The report noted that the Jets could be in line for the top overall pick in the upcoming draft, which would allow them to take highly touted Clemson signal caller Trevor Lawrence, likely spelling Darnold’s exit from New York. ESPN surveyed league executives to determine what the Jets could receive by putting the signal caller on the trade block, but most believed they would be hard-pressed to get a first-rounder in return.
“I don’t think they’d get a [first-round pick] for Sam, but it also depends what he puts on tape the rest of the year,” one unnamed general manager told the outlet. “The problem is, [Darnold] is struggling with his accuracy, his durability — so they’re in a tough spot. And if everyone knows the Jets are taking a quarterback, then they won’t get as much back.”
Another insider said the Jets would get a second-rounder at most, though it would also depend on his performance this year. As Sport Illustrated noted, it could be difficult for Darnold to build up trade value as he was ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals with a shoulder injury. He has thrown for 800 yards and three touchdowns this season, along with four interceptions. Though he was taken ahead of quarterbacks like Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson back in 2018, he has not performed to their level this season and faced growing scrutiny for his decision-making.
There is no indication that the Jets have any intention of trading Darnold, though that could change if the team remains winless and continues to stay atop the 2021 NFL Draft board and in line to snag Lawrence. The Jets have already made some moves that would suggest an upcoming rebuild, including trading safety Jamal Adams in the offseason in exchange for two first-round picks.