UPDATE: The Panthers are expected to exercise the fifth year option on Darnold’s contract, per Jonathan Jones.
UPDATE: This qualifies as confirmation of the deal!
The New York Jets are officially going all-in on the 2021 draft class. The team is trading quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for a 2021 sixth-round pick and second- and fourth-round picks in 2022, per Adam Schefter.
The Jets hold the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and chatter of late has them locked in on BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to select Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick. The grouping after that includes Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones. There had been some talk the Jets might hold on to Darnold and draft an offensive lineman or pass catcher, or even move down from the pick. This trade is a clean break.
Meanwhile, the Panthers have Teddy Bridgewater under contract through the 2022 season, having signed him to a three year, $63 million contract prior to the 2020 season. It’s been unclear what his future is, and this only muddles the picture further. Darnold has struggled to get on track since the Jets picked him third overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. He’ll immediately compete with Bridgewater, assuming the Panthers do not unload the QB.