By Zach Cavanagh
Sam Darnold swapped Gotham Green for Carolina Blue on Monday, April 5.
After three seasons with the New York Jets, the 2015 San Clemente High School graduate was traded to the Carolina Panthers for three draft picks—a sixth-rounder in this year’s NFL Draft and a second- and fourth-round pick in next year’s draft.
Darnold was drafted No. 3 overall in 2018 by the Jets to be the Jets’ quarterback of the future, but as can happen with the Jets, the franchise has remained mired in dysfunction.
Darnold had a record of 13-25 in 38 starts for the Jets, completing 59.8% of his passes for 8,097 yards, 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions. After a 4-9 rookie season in 2018, Darnold was on the rise with a 7-6 record in 2019, an increase in touchdown passes and a decrease in interceptions. However, 2020 was a season to forget in New York as the team went 2-14 overall, with Darnold posting a 2-10 record with nine TD passes and 11 interceptions.
Darnold will get a fresh start in Carolina, where he will be in a backfield with running back Christian McCaffrey and reunited with receiver Robby Anderson. Darnold threw 11 touchdowns to Anderson while with the Jets, his most to any receiver. Darnold has one year remaining on his four-year rookie contract, but the Panthers plan to exercise the fifth-year option on Darnold’s contract.
Carolina currently has veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater under contract, as well, but despite comments on Monday of a potential quarterback competition, the Panthers are rumored to be looking for trade options for Bridgewater.