sam darnold jets
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

What could the Colts or 49ers give up in order to successfully trade for New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold?

After a third consecutive losing season, one that encompassed the lowest yards-per-attempt rate, yards-per-game rate, and quarterback rating of his career, Sam Darnold may be on his way out of Florham Park. It’s unconfirmed the route the Jets will take in regard to their starting quarterback role, but there’s indeed a chance Darnold departs the team that just drafted him No. 3 overall in 2018.

Ironically, a number of organizations could enter the 2021 season with different starting quarterbacks than who they currently employ. The Colts and 49ers, the former of which just made the postseason but lost Philip Rivers to retirement, are included in that list of organizations.

And according to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, both might be in the running for Darnold.

Pauline writes, “Sources tell me they feel it’s a real possibility the Indianapolis Colts end up with Darnold. Yet, the 49ers will also be in the mix.”

It’s worth noting that recently, ESPN’s Adam Schefter stated on MyBookie’s “Haberman & Middlekauff” podcast that he believes the Jets could possibly receive a late first-round pick for Darnold, given what then-32-year-old Matthew Stafford went for (two first-rounders, a third-rounder, and two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Jared Goff).

Realistically, what may a potential Darnold trade involving either the Colts or Niners encompass?

Doin’ Business with Indy

Taking Schefter’s belief into account, the Jets could possibly trade Darnold to Indy and thus acquire the Colts’ No. 21 overall selection in the upcoming draft. However, the Colts would most definitely ask for more than just Darnold if they’d be giving up that valuable of a selection.

It’s possible the Jets could additionally send a 2021 third-round pick to Indianapolis for that 21st pick. New York owns two of such choice — one at No. 66 and one at No. 87, the latter of which is courtesy of the Jamal Adams trade to Seattle. The Colts would prefer the 66th pick in this type of deal.

Snagging the Colts’ first-round pick would lead to the Jets owning three opening-round picks in 2021 — they already possess the No. 2 and 23 overall choices.

Potential Deal: Colts acquire Darnold, third-round pick (No. 66 overall); Jets acquire first-round pick (No. 21 overall).

Doin’ Business with San Fran

It’s very much unlikely that the 49ers would be willing to give up their first-round pick (No. 12 overall) and it’s also unrealistic to say Darnold would be worth that type of selection. Remember: not all first-round picks are equal — No. 12 is wildly different from No. 21.

Therefore, the Niners, who are in need of a new quarterback amid the on-field inconsistencies surrounding Jimmy Garoppolo, could send their 2021 second-round pick (No. 43 overall) and also their 2022 second-round selection for Sam.

In this hypothetical scenario, the Jets probably wouldn’t need to give up anything else other than their current starting quarterback, given neither draft pick they’d receive would be located in the first round.

Potential Deal: 49ers acquire Darnold; Jets acquire 2021 second-round pick (No. 43 overall), 2022 second-round pick.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.