The New York Jets have trade Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for three draft picks. The Panthers gave up a sixth-round pick this year and a second and a fourth in 2022. There are no conditions on those picks, they will stay as a second and a fourth. And most importantly Jets fans and media can move on from the debate about what to do with Darnold.

Just three years ago Darnold was coming in as the franchise savior. A young, talented quarterback with all the upside in the world. Three years’ worth of being failed by the organization, and make no mistake this organization absolutely failed him, and by his own play, because he absolutely failed himself as well, and he’s out the door. The talent has never been the question with Darnold. The question was always, can he fix his flaws? So far through three seasons, the answer has been a resounding no. Darnold had poor coaching in college, QB Coach/OC Jeremy Bates looked like he might have fixed Darnold’s footwork but otherwise, Darnold didn’t get much from the Todd Bowles era. Then there was Adam Gase. Maybe a good offensive coach really can fix him.

Joe Douglas owns this as well because he very obviously made the conscious decision last offseason to sacrifice Darnold. Douglas even promised Darnold’s parents he would take care of Sam. Douglas then proceeded to take away Darnold’s favorite target, who he gets to reunite with Carolina now, and patch the offensive line with band-aids. Last year’s roster wasn’t built to compete and it wasn’t built to properly evaluate Sam Darnold. It was built to tread water at best and use this offseason to really start building the foundation. Unfortunately, Darnold’s career as a Jet had to be sacrificed to the football gods.

Darnold now gets to reunite with Robby Anderson while also getting to take Teddy Bridgewater’s job again. The Panthers have said that they will immediately pick up Darnold’s fifth-year option, making it a two-year experiment for Carolina. Reuniting with Anderson isn’t the only, ‘what could have been,’ wrinkle of this. Darnold will now be coached by Matt Rhule who of course was almost hired by the Jets instead of Gase.

Jets Trade Sam Darnold

The Panthers were basically the only suitors for Darnold at this point. Maybe the Jets could have gotten more if they traded him earlier, but it wouldn’t have been much more. The Jets wanted to fully evaluate the quarterbacks in this draft class before making a trade but if someone had offered a first-round pick this year the Jets would have expedited that evaluation process. Now about those picks, you might be wondering just what they’re worth. Well…

That’s quite the haul when you put it like that!! And sure okay they aren’t going to be able to package those picks together to move up to number seven overall next year. But they can do basically anything else Joe Douglas wants because…

Do you know what all those picks mean? It means flexibility. Want to trade up to get an offensive lineman? Go for it. Want to trade up next year for a stud pass rusher? Douglas can do it. Or keep all the picks, he’s going to miss on some. But having more picks can cover for those misses. This is how Douglas plans to build this roster.

Darnold gets a chance to start over. To show he can succeed. He will have Anderson and D.J. Moore. A smart, young OC, Joe Brady, and Christian McCaffrey to lean on. It’s a much better situation than he ever had with the Jets. Now he needs to fix his footwork and learn how to properly diagnose coverages in real-time. And the Jets get to restart the rookie quarterback clock. Only this time they will actually attempt to surround the rookie with the talent to give him a fighting chance.