The Jets were apparently close to moving forward with Sam Darnold in 2021.
The New York Jets traded Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers after three brutal seasons with the team. The 2018 No. 3 overall pick was never in a great offense with Adam Gase as his head coach and the franchise is opting for a total reset.
The Jets were destined to pick No. 1 overall and land Trevor Lawrence. But Gase’s team managed to beat the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns in back-to-back weeks last December. That pushed them to No. 2, as Lawrence is all set to join the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Trading Darnold proves the overall plan did not change. However, it appears the team would have waited until 2022 if they were picking any later in the first round.
"If the Jets didn't have the 2nd overall pick, they would not have traded Sam Darnold." – @AdamSchefter
"If the Jets would've been number 3, or 4 or 5. They would've kept Darnold."
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) April 6, 2021
Jets would have given Sam Darnold another chance if they picked higher
GM Joe Douglas provided a fascinating quote of his own on the matter.
Joe Douglas: If #NYJ were “a little later” (than 2nd overall), we would have been comfortable going forward with Sam Darnold.
— Kim Jones (@KimJonesSports) April 6, 2021
So the team planned to pick No. 1 overall. They are now at No. 2. But they would have kept Darnold if they won a few more games? This may just be Douglas trying to be nice about Darnold after what was a doomed tenure from the start.
The situation would be different if Darnold willed the team to a winning record. His nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season proved both sides needed a fresh start.
The Jets now reportedly have their sights set on BYU’s Zach Wilson. The team could even look into Justin Fields a bit more throughout the next few weeks. Everyone but Lawrence is available and the front office likely has had a guy in mind well before the trade of Darnold took place.
Making weird statements following the deal just shows what kind of organization they are.