mike tannenbaum sam darnold jets
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The Jets could still trade Sam Darnold this offseason, despite the number of potential suitors diminishing.

Ryan Honey

Sam Darnold‘s future in Florham Park isn’t confirmed. Since the Jets drafted him No. 3 overall nearly three years ago, his on-field development hasn’t exactly been efficient. Now, the team possesses the second pick in the upcoming draft — BYU’s Zach Wilson would assist in a full restart after a two-win 2020 campaign and his selection would lead to a Darnold trade.

The issue, however, is that the number of potential suitors for the current Jets quarterback is decreasing. Washington may be out after the signing of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Indianapolis was once a possible destination but now employs Carson Wentz. The Jets have seemingly been out of the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes for quite some time, so Houston may no longer be a possible destination for Sam.

Chicago recently acquired veteran Andy Dalton on a one-year deal and was willing enough to tweet out a photoshopped picture of him in a Bears jersey, a post that included the caption “QB1.” Sure, that may be telling of the team’s 2021 plans, or could it be a smokescreen? Could Chicago still be in the running for another new quarterback?

ESPN analyst and former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum thinks so and recently proposed a potential trade, one that includes Chicago, Seattle, and the Jets, along with both Russell Wilson and Darnold.

Here’s what he suggested:

Bears receive: Russell Wilson.

Seahawks receive: Sam Darnold, 2021 and 2022 first-round picks from Chicago, and Bears linebacker Roquan Smith.

Jets receive: 2022 second-round pick from Chicago.

Would this work for Gang Green?

What the Jets are giving up 

It’s still unconfirmed whether the Jets will go with Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall. If that’s what they decide to do (he’ll definitely be available at that pick amid the very likely selection of Trevor Lawrence at No. 1) then a trade of Darnold is imminent.

Sending him to Seattle could work for the Seahawks if they end up needing a quarterback in the midst of the reported rift between Russell Wilson and the organization that’s employed him since 2012. Darnold would then go to a successful team with talented offensive weapons in D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Chris Carson — much more reliable skill players than who the Jets employed this past season.

The Seahawks are additionally working to improve an offensive line that’s struggled for the better part of the last decade, another development that would assist in Darnold’s ultimate improvement as an NFL quarterback.

Darnold would also be working with a great head coach in Pete Carroll (a USC connection there as well).

The return

A 2022 second-round selection from Chicago seems a tad bit low. At one point, the return for Darnold could’ve been a late first-round pick (of course, the Jets would’ve needed to give up possibly a third-round selection as well as the young quarterback for that type of pick).

If you’re going to give up Darnold now, you have to receive multiple picks in return. A second and third-rounder would be necessary; snagging only one of those two choices wouldn’t be.

I understand Darnold hasn’t impressed all too often in his trio of pro-level seasons, but he still carries value as an NFL quarterback. Look at the help he’s been provided with in Florham Park the last few years — do you think it’s easy for any young quarterback to succeed with that assistance (or lack thereof)?

When given the proper situation (which hasn’t occurred yet), Darnold could find the ability to produce. The Jets must realize that, and if they elect to go with Zach Wilson, can’t settle for anything less than a pair of picks for the 23-year-old signal-caller.

Would it ultimately work?

My guess is no.

The Bears would be getting a superstar quarterback in Russell Wilson, but one that’s 32 years old and underwent a puzzling decline in the back half of last season. Not to mention, they’d be giving up an absurd number of valuable draft selections and a star linebacker.

The Jets, as previously mentioned, would be getting a return less than Darnold’s true potential value — Joe Douglas wouldn’t accept that, especially if they plan to eventually acquire Zach Wilson (Darnold’s value prior to that possible selection is higher than it would be after it).

Seattle is the only team that would benefit from this deal.

Two first-round picks, a young quarterback, and a star linebacker? This would be a total lopsided three-team trade in favor of the Seahawks. No way Douglas approves.