Jets trade QB Sam Darnold to Panthers for package of NFL draft picks

The New York Jets appear to have cleared the way their franchise to draft a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick and turn the keys over to him on Day 1.

The Jets have traded Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for a 2021 sixth-round pick and 2022 second-round and fourth-round picks, the Panthers announced on Twitter.

The Jets traded up in 2018 to use the No. 3 pick on Darnold. But the USC product had anything but a smooth transition to the NFL, and much of it had to do with the constant state of turmoil that the Jets have found themselves in. Already, he has played for two head coaches in three seasons.

The Jets fired Todd Bowles following Darnold’s rookie year and this offseason dismissed Adam Gase after two turbulent seasons. Robert Saleh was hired as head coach, and Darnold faced an uncertain future with the organization holding the second overall pick and positioned to take one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft.

Jets brass attended BYU quarterback Zach Wilson’s impressive pro day two weeks ago.

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) reacts on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Photo: Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports)

The Panthers appeared to enter the quarterback market after Teddy Bridgewater failed to meet new coach Matt Rhule’s expectations last season. Carolina had interest in Deshaun Watson, whose relationship with the Texans has soured. Houston had failed to budge on trade talks, but now Watson faces an uncertain future amid 22 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct leveled against him by massage therapists.

Carolina also pursued quarterback Matthew Stafford, whom the Detroit Lions traded to the Los Angeles Rams, before the team's focus shifted to Darnold, who is entering the final season of his rookie contract.

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