Will the Jets employ both Sam Darnold and Zach Wilson next season? Would that move make any sort of sense?
Or would it?
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, there’s a chance the Jets select a quarterback with their prestigious first-round pick and additionally keep Darnold, a move that not many would expect.
One thing that's gone underplayed with Sam Darnold: I'm told keeping Darnold AND drafting a QB at 2 is not totally off the table. Jets have truly gone into this offseason with every option in consideration, and there's still legit sentiment for Darnold's skill set in the building
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 29, 2021
Sure there’s been a debate in regard to whether Wilson or Darnold is the man for the job in Florham Park — many seem to be leaning towards the former after his impressive Pro Day this past Friday. You’d be hard-pressed, however, to find a significant number of people who think both will be on the roster for Week 1, or at least even in training camp.
But do the Jets think Wilson would be ready for a starting job immediately? At 22 years old? If they don’t, Darnold could initially start while Wilson sits on the bench and learns the position.
Darnold’s trade value is also reportedly diminishing, which obviously makes it harder for the team to potentially get rid of him. If the Jets traded him last month, they could’ve received more for him than they would now. According to Kimberley A. Martin of ESPN, Darnold’s trade value may currently be a third-rounder and/or conditional fourth-rounder.
Just mentioned this on @GetUpESPN: Talked to three NFL GMs about the market for Sam Darnold. I asked what’s the most they’d be willing to give up: Two said a 3rd Rd pick — with one saying even a late 3rd would be “a little rich.” The other GM said “maybe” a 3rd or conditional 4th
— Kimberley A. Martin (@ByKimberleyA) March 29, 2021
The number of potential suitors is additionally decreasing. As of right now, the only legitimate options might be Denver if the Broncos don’t wish to move forward with Drew Lock or the Panthers if they can’t acquire any of the quarterbacks they possibly like in the draft and don’t feel Teddy Bridgewater is the answer either.
Darnold also has just one year remaining on his current rookie deal and it’s unconfirmed if any team — even the Jets — would be willing to pick up his fifth-year option (doing so would keep him under contract through the 2022 season). This situation makes it difficult for teams to even be intrigued enough to trade for him in the first place.
Waiting even longer to trade Darnold would decrease his potential value though. It also wouldn’t be in the organization’s best interest to draft Wilson, keep Sam, have his contract run out, and completely lose the opportunity to acquire some sort of return. If Darnold isn’t the long-term answer whatsoever, they must look to deal him as soon as possible.