Jets QB Sam Darnold Worth Second-Round Pick?

Whether via trade or via the draft, there’s a chance the Jets could bring in a new quarterback this offseason … meaning Sam Darnold would naturally find himself on the trade block. Sources tell Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv that the return for Darnold has “long been projected to be a second-round pick, plus maybe another mid-to-late rounder.”

New head coach Robert Saleh and new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur believe Darnold may have “untapped potential,” but that apparently hasn’t stopped teams from inquiring about the quarterback’s availability. After all, this would seemingly be a prime opportunity for the team to restart at the position.

For starters, the team could easily select BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the second-overall pick. Alternatively, the organization could make a run at Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has continually been connected to the organization. To top it all off, the Jets are only months away from having to make a decision on Darnold’s fifth-year option; that move would pay the quarterback around $25MM in 2022, and the two sides would still have to figure out a long-term pact.

Darnold hasn’t necessarily been put in a position to succeed since being selected with the third-overall pick in the 2018 Draft. However, after taking a clear step forward in 2019, the 23-year-old may have taken two steps back in 2020. Darnold finished the campaign having connected on only 59.6-percent of his passes for 2,208 yards, nine touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. The Jets went 2-10 in his 12 starts.

As Vacchiano writes, the recent Carson Wentz trade (which saw the quarterback traded for a third-round pick and a conditional second-round pick) shouldn’t have any impact on Darnold’s value. This isn’t much of a surprise; besides the shared position, the two players don’t share similar situations. Wentz was significantly more expensive than Darnold, and he’s also dealt with a long list of injuries. Darnold is significantly cheaper in 2021, although he hasn’t come close to matching Wentz’s on-field production.

“There are so many unknowns with Darnold,” a source told Vacchiano. “He’s got a ton of potential, but he’s also had three years to show it. You’re taking a chance that he’ll be better away from the Jets, that he’s not damaged goods. He probably will be good in a better situation.

“But then you’ve only got a year to figure him out before you have to pay him, too.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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45 comments on “Jets QB Sam Darnold Worth Second-Round Pick?

  1. arthur blank_for owner

    Chalk it up to the Gase effect and give Darnold a fair chance Jets!….and this has nothing to do with Falcons taking Zach Wilson at 4, nothing to see here;-)

    • BAINES03

      The guy was a turnover machine in college going against inferior talent… and now he’s a turnover machine in the pros going against the best. No coach is fixing that.

      • cka2nd

        Allen had a worse INT rate in college against weaker competition than Darnold, and had a worse INT rate as a rookie than Darnold, was worse all around, in fact, and he was fixed. And he still fumbles the ball more often than Darnold does.

    • andremets

      Zero chance Wilson falls to 4th. If the Jets don’t draft him,l #2, they would trade the pick to someone else who would. If Atlanta wants him, be ready to give up #4 overall AND your 2022 #1 too.

      • CoachWe

        Agree. I think Lawrence & Wilson are the crown jewels of the QB class.

  2. phillyballers

    Well let’s see the last pre-5th yr option trade I believe was Josh Rosen and he garnered the 62nd overall pick.

    I would say Darnold > Rosen.

    If Trevor Lawrence wasn’t in this draft class, you’d say Jax trading #45 overall would make a lot of sense, and they take Sewell #1 overall. The teams with multiple picks in the first two arounds are the teams that do not need Darnold (Jets, Jax, Miami).

    Maybe Washington’s #74 overall?

    • Mr Goodkat

      Rosen had 3 years left on his contract. Darnold has 1. Rosen only had one year of tape (his first), Darnold has 3.

      Darnold is the better player, but I doubt at this point he fetches a early or even mid second. Especially if he’s dealt AFTER they take a QB.

  3. phenomenalajs

    I’ve made clear my position in other posts. They should keep him and draft Penei Sewell at #2. Sam has a chance to succeed in a 49ers style offense. With Becton and Sewell as bookends, edge rushers are going to have a hard time getting to Sam. They should make a run at Allen Robinson and/or a top RB or TE. TE’s are vital in the 49ers offense. They could also get another weapon with Seattle’s pick.

    • seaver41

      Is Sewell a slam dunk having played a style unlike the pros? Guy hasn’t truly been tested and sat out a year

      • phillyballers

        Isn’t he touted as best OL prospect in over a decade or more?

        • Connorsoxfan

          Upside yes but Slater is supposed to actually be better right now as I understand it, so not like they aren’t taking on major developmental risk with Sewell

    • padam

      @phenom – agreed. Kid needs a legitimate chance. No line. No talent surrounding him. Coach who was horrible. What they get in return so t be enough for what they invested to draft him, and Zach Wilson could be Darnold v2. It’s not like he played against top competition, nor was he the leader that folks would expect from their QB during his time at BYU.

      Drafting Sewell and pairing him with Becton would be a great start. Draft some interior lineman and focus on offense for much of the draft. Get some D on the FA market.

  4. adshadbolt

    If they aren’t going to take a QB at #2 they need to trade down to the late 10s or early teens take slater out of northwestern to play RT then get a receiver with the Sea pick then and then one of the 3 interior lineman in the 2nd round. After that is should be receivers and runnings backs. Add to the defense in FA

  5. Tatsumaki

    Now this guy for that price tag makes sense for niners. Bring him in let him sit and see what Jimmy g does for one more season. Your backup starter would already be waiting in wings.

    • Hawktattoo

      2022 is his option year. I would think team that gets him would want to see him play in 21 to see if worth picking up.

  6. Simmons>Russ

    Washington for a third round pick makes sense if he’s a starter but I think I could see being a back up

  7. af1257

    Darnold has shown some flashes and seems that he handles the NY fan and media pressure better than expected, which many have not. I really feel like if they had given him some real quality receivers that he could have formed a bond with, instead of the round robin of second tier guys every year it’d have been a lot different. Draft a front line WR and get him some line help in the draft and see what happens. There will likely be some RB and TE help to be had via free agency or trades. Give it a year with some quality starters around him and see, if he falls flat then his option year grows wings and flies away and you’re back to looking for a QB, which between the glut of current QB depth in the league and 2022 draft should be covered. Rebuild around him for a year, then if necessary look for a replacement. Given the slop this kid has been forced to endure over the last few years there’s no telling what his potential might be with a quality team.

  8. CoachWe

    Most QB’s drafted in 1st round are not worth the pick due to the 5th year option.. Lock, Trubiski & Darnold are perfect examples. Mahomes is the exception. Out side of Lawrence (and perhaps Wilson) is any other QB worth committing 25 mill/per year? No. Trade out of 1st and use FA or trade to for your QB.
    All this being said, now that Darnold has some experience, if he goes to a solid team willing to surround him with weapons, he could be something. My guess is that he will become another Josh Rosen & not Tannehill. He will have to wait for that 25 mill tag to be dropped bc that is holding him back.

    • phenomenalajs

      Drew Lock was a second rounder. The Ravens traded back into the first round to get the fifth year option on Lamar Jackson. That one turned out to be worth it. Josh Allen has turned into a stud, but of the five first round QB picks that year, Lamar Jackson has turned out to be the best deal.

      • CoachWe

        I think this is why Lock is perhaps valuable to some teams. No 5th year option scale to hurt a franchise.

        • phenomenalajs

          I don’t think the option hurts the team because the team can decline it.

  9. tank62

    The Bears should offer the 62 and a conditional pick next year for Darnold. But they won’t. They’ll trade a 1st for Gardner Minshew #FireRyanPace

  10. thebluemeanie

    I really hope Darnold doesn’t end up in Chicago. That would be a disaster going from Gace in New York to a team that’s on the verge firing their head coach in Chicago. I don’t think him Chicago is the answer for him or them.

  11. I just Butt-fumbled

    I think this is a fair trade:

    Jets receive:
    Drew Lock

    Broncos Receive:
    Sam Darnold
    4th rounder in this years draft

    (this is somehow gonna get me cancelled even though I believe Deshaun Watson is going to the Dolphins)

    • Fan0Sports4

      Why would the Jets want Lock? He’s horrid. Wentz hasn’t looked the same since surgery yet got a 3rd this year and a possible 1st min 2nd next year. Darnold has just as much talent as Wentz post op. Also Darnold is making 5mil this year and 25mil next year compared to Wentz’s 33mil or so contract

        • andremets

          I think he’s pointing out that the value of Darnold can be gauged by the Wentz trade, hence he feels the Jets shouldn’t have to give up a 4th to get Lock if they head in that direction.

  12. jast25

    The jets should let Darnold play this year and pick his 5th ur option. They should also draft Wilson and sit him for two years.

    • CoachWe

      Cap reduces to below $190mil this year. And next year it may go down even more. Few teams can afford 25+ mill QB’s, especially if they are mediocre. They are not a good team. I actually like Darnold so to your point, if they choose to keep Darnold,…they absolutely need to use that 1st pick and trade down to produce many more picks. In other words, they need to choose either Darnold or Wilson and acquire more draft capital.

      • jast25

        True that. I think they should keep Darnold and trade that 2nd overall pick for more draft capital as u mentioned above.

        • phenomenalajs

          I think people here know my position. They should keep Darnold and use #2 on Sewell. Any other young QB would suffer from the same lack of support that Sam had. The best chance the Jets have now is by getting Sam the protection and weapons he needs. They also should see in the preseason what they have in their 4th round pick from last year, James Morgan. He basically got a redshirt year. Now he needs to show what he can do.

  13. MileHighFan

    Darnold is an enigma at this point. He had no chance with the Jets, as they didn’t have the time, the coaches, or the supporting talent needed to get him started on the right path.

    It is hard to tell if he can be fixed with a simple change in teams, as most players in his shoes simply fade away – burdened by a loss of self-confidence and the difficulties involved in trying to learn a completely new offensive scheme.

  14. ruckus727

    Sam Darnold netting a second rounder is laughable let alone with another later pick on top. This dude will get traded for a third at best but likely a fourth. That said, I believe Sam is better than he has shown. No QB could succeed in NY with the OL and skill position players he’s had around the last few years. After Denver doesn’t land Watson or Russ, maybe they take a shot and let him and Lock compete.

    • Fan0Sports4

      A safety went for 2 1sts and a 2nd
      A Shit QB after injury went for a 3rd and a future 1st (likely)
      Yet a young controllable QB for 2 years at 5mil this year and 25mil next isn’t worth a 2nd? That’s laughable. Josh Allen got fixed by having a team around him, Dak Prescott became good by having a team around him. Tom Brady was a fing 5th rd pick.
      Great Support +QB with talent = Great Team.

  15. BuckarooBanzai

    Personally, I think Darnold has been a victim of an extremely bad Front Office … and, yes, that includes the Gase Brain Fart.

    He’s had:
    minimal Offensive weapons/options
    Swiss Cheese Offensive Line
    Head scratching Coaching decisions

    There’s no way a conventional off season will optimize evaluating 2021Darnold properly.

    Either use #2 on Najee Harris or Waddle/Chase/Smith or trade down for something like: Broncos for Lindsay & 9th Pick (just an example off the top of my head: don’t come at me bro lol)

    • fishy14

      If jets Want to be good for long time trade back to 9-10

      Prob can get a 2 and 4 along with another 1st

      Draft Slater
      Osemi from Texas
      Jayce horn / Chaz Surat
      Rondle Moore

      Then Kyle Trask in 3rd

      Sign Arob

      Got your other tackle
      A pash rusher
      Add 2skilled WR
      A top D player
      Darnold sucks have prospect at QB

      3-1st rd picks next year

      • CoachWe

        I totally agree. In fact, I think they should keep Darnold, and trade down multiple times to the 20’s. If they pick up 2nd & 3rd rounders along the way it drastically improves their team.

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