mark sanchez sam darnold jets
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Mark Sanchez wants Sam Darnold to succeed, and to him, that means leaving the team that drafted him nearly three years ago.

To keep or not to keep.

The Sam Darnold-related question lingers around Florham Park with the offseason underway and the crucial 2021 NFL Draft approaching. The Jets must make a decision on their current starting quarterback amid the potential acquisition of BYU’s Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall.

If Darnold departs the Jets, he could still put his past struggles behind him and find success elsewhere. Mark Sanchez, former Jets quarterback and current ESPN analyst, believes this route could be beneficial for the young signal-caller.

“Sam Darnold is more than capable; the issue with Sam Darnold was the supporting cast last year,” said Sanchez on ESPN’s “Get Up” Friday. “I don’t care who you bring in at quarterback for the New York Jets, they need help…The problem is…he has too short of a leash right now. They need him to make plays he’s incapable of making because he doesn’t have the supporting cast, and as soon as he goes three-and-out two times this year, his ass is getting booed out of the stadium. It’s not fair to the kid to do that.”

Darnold does indeed lack the proper on-field assistance on the offensive side of the ball. If the Jets decide to roll the dice with him but don’t provide that necessary help, he may struggle once again in 2021.

Keeping him would probably require the Jets bringing in offensive weapons with either of their two first-round picks, especially at No. 2 overall. Everyone besides Trevor Lawrence will likely be available at that second pick and the Jets would benefit from drafting LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase or Florida tight end Kyle Pitts should they decide not to go with a new quarterback.

But on the contrary, trading him may be beneficial for either party. The Jets would snag further draft capital to go along with the 10 selections they already own this year. Could the return be a second-round pick? Sure. Could it be a late first? It’s possible. If the organization keeps Darnold up until the draft and a team like Washington misses out on the pending rookie quarterbacks they like, Gang Green may force the Football Team to give up their No. 19 overall pick.

In that specific scenario, Darnold would then undergo a fresh start in the nation’s capital with a great head coach in Ron Rivera, an extremely productive Washington defense, and a No. 1 receiver in Terry McLaurin. Not to mention, Washington needs a quarterback…badly. Alex Smith and Dwayne Haskins are gone, Kyle Allen isn’t a legitimate starter in this league, and Taylor Heinicke had one good game — people need to hold their horses when it comes to his potential on-field success.

Major decisions regarding the most important position in sports await the Jets. Sanchez may have the right idea. He also may not. The world will find out soon enough.

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