Earlier this month, the New York Jets sent Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for three total draft picks. The team received a sixth-round selection this year as well as second- and fourth-round picks in 2022 in return for its former starting quarterback.
However, it seems as if the Jets could have gotten more. A lot more.
According to NFL reporter Cecil Lammey, the team turned down a first-round offer from the San Francisco 49ers earlier during the offseason. The Jets were apparently concerned about quarterback prospect Zach Wilson’s shoulder at that point in time — Wilson is widely believed to become the Jets’ pick at No. 2 — and were therefore hesitant to move Darnold.
What followed was the San Francisco 49ers instead making a trade to acquire the third overall pick in this year’s draft to presumably select their next starter of the future. The Jets, meanwhile, were happy with Wilson’s medicals and then decided to move Darnold to the next-highest bidder.
As a result, they will have “only” two first-round picks this year instead of three. While that is still plenty of capital, it is less than what they would have had had they indeed sent Darnold to San Francisco for the reported offer: New York would have owned picks No. 2, No. 12 and No. 23. had the move materialized.
As for the QB himself, he originally arrived in New York as the third overall pick of the 2018 draft and had been the team’s starter ever since. Playing on a roster devoid of talent and consistent coaching, however, the former USC star struggled in three years as a Jet: Darnold appeared in 38 games and completed just 59.8 percent of his passes for 8,097 yards, 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions.
Now, he will try to get his career back on track in a new environment while the Jets and the 49ers are both looking for quarterbacks through the draft. Obviously, had the Darnold trade gone through, they would be in considerably different situations rather than sitting with back-to-back picks early on Day 1 now.