The outlook of the 2021 NFL Draft and quarterback carousel in the NFL got a bit clearer Monday as the New York Jets agreed to trade quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers. The deal is reportedly for a Sixth-Round Pick in the 2021 draft and a Second and Fourth-Round pick in the 2022 draft.
The Panthers have been rumored to be looking for another option at quarterback for the 2021 season and landed just that in Darnold. In three seasons Darnold, taken as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft, has thrown for 8,097 yards and 45 touchdowns with 39 interceptions. He’s gone 13-25 as a starter, completing 59.8 percent of his passes. Coming to Carolina and working with Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady and Head Coach Matt Rhule will give Darnold a chance to re-boot and see if he can live up to his draft position.
Last season the Panthers were led by Teddy Bridgewater, who was in the first year of a three-year contract. Bridgewater went 4-11 in 15 starts, throwing for 3,733 yards and 15 TDs along with 11 INTs. Bridgewater remains on the roster currently and could be a trade target or serve as competition with Darnold for the starting spot.
The Panthers’ offense figures to have running back Christian McCaffrey back healthy along with receivers D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson. The team also has the No. 8 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. In terms of fantasy, Darnold is a low-end QB2. He’ll have the best weapons of his career in Carolina, and a good, offensive-minded coaching staff. If he wins the job, this will be a great barometer of his NFL potential. McCaffrey is the top overall RB and his value remains unchanged. Moore is a WR2 and Anderson, who played with Darnold for two years in New York, is a WR3. This trade also clarifies things for the New York Jets, who hold the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Many believed the Jets would take a quarterback, likely BYU product Zach Wilson, with the second pick. Trading Darnold to the Panthers all but guarantees the Jets take a quarterback, meaning the NFL Draft will likely begin with quarterbacks taken with the first three picks after the 49ers traded up to the No. 3 spot last month.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.