Jets To Either Trade Sam Darnold Or No. 2 Pick?

The Jets closed the books on their disastrous 2020 season with a loss to the Patriots to finish at 2-14. They made a little bit of noise down the stretch by winning two of their last three, but not enough to stave off the major questions facing the franchise.

Adam Gase is now out of a job, and the attention will soon toward what to do at quarterback moving forward. It seems up in the air as to whether or not Sam Darnold will be back under center in 2021, but one thing already appears to be decided. The Jets will either trade Darnold, or trade the second overall pick in the draft to a team looking for a quarterback, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

That would seemingly mean New York has no plans of drafting a non-quarterback, like Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewellat number two. They also clearly don’t intend on having Darnold and a highly drafted passer on the roster together. Needless to say, first-year Jets GM Joe Douglas has a massive decision ahead of him that will determine his own future.

Darnold, of course, was the second overall pick back in 2018. He started 13 games his first two seasons (the first of which was under Todd Bowles), then 12 this past year. New York went 6-2 down the stretch last year to inspire a little bit of hope entering 2020, but things went off the rails pretty quickly.

He finished this season averaging 6.1 yards per attempt with only nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Of course he’s only 23 years old, and if the Jets are ready to throw in the towel on him there will likely be significant trade interest due to his perceived upside.

This is considered a strong quarterback draft class, and whether it’s the Jets or another team on the clock at number two guys like Ohio State’s Justin Fields, BYU’s Zach Wilson, and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance will be available. Assuming Trevor Lawrence still goes first to the Jaguars. Buckle up.

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49 comments on “Jets To Either Trade Sam Darnold Or No. 2 Pick?

      • The 2nd overall pick has actual value, any gm who would give up a single draft pick for Sam darnold should immediately be fired, it would be as bad as trading deandre Hopkins for nothing, and billy O will never get a job above position coach for the rest of his life

        • Ak185

          You’re telling me that you would fire a GM for trading a fifth round pick for Darnold? Would you fire him for trading a seventh? Or is this just intended to be dramatic?

  1. JoeBrady

    I would trade the pick for a king’s ransom, and roll the dice with Darnold. Even with Sewell and the rest of the king’s ransom, if Darnold plays poorly, then the Jets will play poorly, and have another shot at a QB in 2022.

    • M Haworth

      I would do the same. They need players everywhere. Build the roster, see what Darnold can do in a new system with a new coach. They also have a ton of cap space they can use to build the roster as well.

    • Michael Chaney

      I agree. They also have a ton of holes on the roster now anyway.

      It would be different if Lawrence was available, but they’d get pennies on the dollar for Darnold and it might as well be worth it to add a bunch of other pieces and give him one final shot to see if he’s the guy (even if they’ve probably ruined him). Worst case scenario, they suck again next year and end up with Sam Howell.

    • Ak185

      This is the best plan, easily. Everyone has covered the whys for the most part, but I will raise one more hypothetical that could be important: if the new coach decides to draft his own guy (very likely of course), having a year to evaluate the roster and see which players he wants to keep may help set up his new franchise QB in a better position than having to figure out midseason who the key components of your team are. The coach getting settled in, identifying needs, and devising a concrete plan before looking for his QB might be best. And, on the off chance that Darnold suddenly does end up changing his career trajectory, he may save himself a draft pick that could be used elsewhere. Not as likely, of course, but if Darnold is bad then the pick should be in a good place to select a QB.

  2. Appalachian_Outlaw

    So they’re not going to protect Darnold, or if they go with a new QB he’ll be in the same position as Darnold? Why would you pass on Sewell? Unbelievable. Jets going to Jets.

    • GoLandCrabs

      Just like how Jake Long, Jason Smith, Eric Fisher, Luke Jokel, Greg Robinson and Andrew Thomas were locks to be elite O-lineman? Gambling on a franchise QB is more impactful than adding a lineman after already hitting on Becton.

      • Appalachian_Outlaw

        Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell and David Carr all were busts at the QB position, too. Washington just took Haskins and how did that work out? There is no such thing as a lock. You gamble on whatever position you take. To say gambling on a QB is more impactful is somewhat of a fallacy. If the QB hits, maybe, sure. There are a lot of variables, though. If you build a strong O-line, put a solid RB behind it and let Darnold play within himself, that could be just as valuable. Sewell of course would have to hit. Why not do that though and give Darnold a real chance with potential high level talent around him?

        • GoLandCrabs

          Jets have a ton of cap room and the best tackle from last years draft. They can build a quality line without using that high of a pick on that position. Doesn’t have to be a QB although trading down to a QB needy team would be the best move.

      • Ak185

        Huh? Jake Long was bad?

        If you’re pointing out that you can miss on a highly drafted o-lineman, you may as throw some successful ones in there. You can start with Jake Long, since he actually was pretty good.

  3. hoosierhysteria

    Jets will get more for #2 pick than Darnold. They should keep Darnold and take the Alabama receiver.

  4. HubcapDiamondStarHalo

    “Can I take a leave of absence until, say, June?”
    – Joe Douglas

  5. jeterleader

    jets should trade #2 pick for either the #7,#8 or #9 pick and select Kyle pitts, then move up and choose trask whit a mid 20s 1st rounder. then u get a qb with A lot of potential, a TE who could be the next tony gonzalez, AND they have chemistry. BOOM

  6. GoLandCrabs

    Smart move. Taking a lineman that high is uncessarcy. Becton was not the 1st OT taken in the draft.

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      Tom Brady wasn’t the first QB taken in his draft, either. So is taking a QB that high also unnecessary by that same logic?

  7. I Beg To Differ

    Trade the #2.

    Jets have so many holes to fill they need all the draft capital they can get to have as many chances as they can get.

    Id trade back and target Kyle Pitts or one of the top receivers with their 1st. Then work on protecting Darnold and getting a RB.

  8. joeyrocafella

    “Darnold, of course, was the second overall pick in the 2018 draft”…. Hmmmm Saquon Barkley would disagree.

    • Ak185

      A lot of them. Darnold has obviously been the beneficiary of the worst coaching and worst overall offensive talent in the league, and still managed to not be the worst quarterback that we’ve ever seen. He also has a team first attitude, and by all accounts is a smart guy who has good character. It’s easy to just write him off because of his stats, but it boggles my mind how people so readily admit that the Jets did nothing to try to win, and yet so staunchly insist that Darnold is to blame for his underwhelming career.

      Guys like Darnold don’t grow on trees. Yeah, sounds dumb, but it’s true. You have no guarantee that who you draft will even take their job seriously (ala a certain 1st round quarterback who just got cut a week ago). Nobody would give up a king’s ransom for Darnold, and they shouldn’t. But not even giving him a look and ignoring him? I can absolutely guarantee that that will not happen. Every team in the league is in agreement that Gase/the Jets impacted Darnold. The question is to what degree.

    • Lancaster82

      Trevor Lawrence is a bust. If He gets past Jacksonville hopefully the Jets are smart enough to realize that. He did absolutely nothing against Ohio St.

  9. mikedickinson

    Trade down a few picks and take Smith. Darn old has no talent at the wr position. Then, at the top of the 2nd, get the rb from Alabama.

  10. Lancaster82

    Trevor Lawrence is a bust. If He gets past Jacksonville hopefully the Jets are smart enough to realize that. He did absolutely nothing against Ohio St.

  11. padam

    Pick Sewell and get some talent for Darnold at WR/RB. Building the team at the line is the way to go. It’s not Darnold’s fault the team around him is horrible and the coaches around him were disasters. Snatch Jones at the end of the draft of you want to hedge the WB position.

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      Bingo. This. You could draft the next Payton Manning, but if you put him behind nothing, he’s going to look like nothing.

    • phenomenalajs

      I agree. Also, Darnold was 3rd overall in 2018, not 2nd. That was Saquon Barkley.

  12. elmont14

    Trade Sam and the 2nd for Watson. After what I’ve seen, the dolphins will be stupid if they don’t draft a QB. Fitz isn’t going to hang around and Tua doesn’t get it. Don’t say he needs time look at Herbert.

    • Tua has literally played in 10 total games and had OK stats for a rookie. Why does this need to be said about young QBs so much? Some take time to develop. Why is everyone so quick to label QBs a bust?

      Do yourself a favor and check out, as a very recent example, Josh Allen’s first year stats, then compare them to Tua’s. You think Buffalo wishes they’d gave up on Allen as quickly as you’re giving up on Tua? There are tons and tons of QBs who performed poorly their first season and gone on to have great careers. Pump the brakes.

    • Ak185

      Yeah, Tu’a does not look great, but rct is correct. It is too early now to pull the floor out of from under him. His attitude and coachability give him a chance to hopefully develop better instincts and anticipation. Most of his issues appear to be with identifying coverages and confidence in interpreting what he sees, and those are things that may improve over time. Gailey has not taken advantage of downfield opportunities (or sought them out), which may change with either new receivers or a new philosophy. Tu’a may end up better with some more additions or a full season of work.

      Those reasons are specific to Tu’a, but ever QB has their own path. And no two teams are the same-Herbert has different receivers, coaches, and opponents than Tu’a. Less than a season’s worth of starting is too early to allow them the time to catch up to NFL competition. I agree, Tu’a looks underwhelming, but he needs time to learn how to take advantage of opportunities and/or have the coaching staff trust him to do so. I actually expected these specific issues a little after watching him at Alabama, but no player comes into the league perfect and Tu’a does need the opportunity to find out if he can develop to match his potential.

  13. oneiblnd

    Douglas should be fired for allowing the team to win 2 of the last 3. Meaningless and took them out of the running for the top QB in the draft.

    • wagner13

      How is that the general manager’s fault? He didn’t MAKE them win any games. Fringe players are going to compete for their jobs, so the idea of tanking is a bit overblown

      • Ak185

        I’m almost of the opinion that Gase purposefully actually tried to win those last two just to spite the Jets before fired. No one has ever accused the man of being petty, right…

  14. crosseyedlemon

    The Jets could trade Darnold this year and the #1 pick the next 3 years.

  15. kingcobra1979

    Lots of pple saying draft Sewell. I remember a player named tony mandarich(sp?) out of Michigan still. He was a can’t miss ot. On the cover of SI. Flamed out.

  16. jay13

    Stay with Darnold, draft Alabama WR Devonta Smith or trade down to get him. Give Darnold some weapons and some beef in front of him, then pass judgment if he does not get it done.

  17. MileHighFan

    There is no market for Darnold, but the best way to become an ex-GM is to hitch your wagon to a draft bust. Of course, what can you tell from a QB throwing to receivers who were all rejects from other teams?

  18. tonyinsingapore

    Ghosts Darnold seems to lack the God-given ability to see the field and react a split second before the other players.

    Brady has it, Mahomes has it, Rodgers has it.

    Without that natural gift of field sight, a QB can be pedestrian. Darnold like, if you will…

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