NY Jets trade Sam Darnold To Carolina Panthers, answering another off-season quarterback question that has been a source of hot debate since the conclusion of the 2020 NFL season.
In this space, we look at Sam Darnold’s trade from both perspectives as well as look at what some of the early implications are on the NFL betting odds.
Jets Bid Adieu to Darnold
The New York Jets finally pulled the trigger on Sam Darnold, trading quarterback to Carolina Panthers on Monday. Ever since Robert Salah was hired, NFL experts and oddsmakers across sports betting platforms widely predicted that he’d start his first-ever head coaching tenure on a clean slate in New York. So, when the decision was announced this week, it took nobody by surprise at all, least of all Darnold himself. It only took a little bit over a month to confirm officially what was always expected to happen.
The Jets are rebuilding under Salah, so it makes perfect sense to do so in the upcoming season with a rookie quarterback that can be moulded into whatever vision the new coaching regime has in mind. Most importantly, the Jets made gains in the trade that were arguably favourable for both teams. Mainly, it added to New York’s stockpile of draft picks for the next few seasons. Over 20 draft picks in total with which Salah and Co. can build their desired team, assuming their first year goes to plan and they remain in charge of the Jets for the foreseeable.
On the flipside, Darnold emerges a winner too in the trade. It’s just up to him now to make the most of this second opportunity in the NFL. Entering his fourth year in the league, establishing his value as a starter when his rookie contract was winding down was always going to be difficult, if not impossible, to do in New York under a new coach. And with the franchise considering the merit of his fifth-year option, it would have put a lot of pressure on him to succeed in a small window of time amidst a lot of change. He might have been set up to fail.
Darnold’s Second Chance
Starting with a new team buys Darnold a genuine chance at redemption and possibly even a real shot at success. Consider what happened to Ryan Tannehill’s career after parting ways with the Adam Gase-inspired Miami Dolphins two years ago. It skyrocketed to unimaginable success. Darnold must be hoping his post-Gase era meets with similar success in Carolina.
He gets to work with owner David Tepper, who is an enterprising individual with grand visions of success; head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady, who are bright young talents in the NFL; star running back Christian McCaffrey and several other offensive weapons with a lot of promise; and a defense that should improve in 2021.
Moreover, the NFC South is an intriguing division that is headed into a big overhaul over the next few seasons. It sets up ideally for a 23-year-old Sam Darnold, who could have a long career ahead of him if he plays his cards right. Of course, defending Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers are likely to be contenders again next season as Tom Brady plays through to the end of his current two-year contract. However, what happens at the end of 2021 is anybody’s guess. One can never discount Brady, the proven GOAT in the game, but he is on the wrong side of 40. Time will eventually catch up to him, making retirement an unavoidable inevitability in the near future.
Separately, Drew Brees announced his retirement from the New Orleans Saints, leaving Jameis Winston and Tayson Hill as the starting quarterbacks in New Orleans while Matt Ryan appears to be playing on borrowed time in Atlanta. As it is, early NFL futures with DraftKings Sportsbook have the Panthers priced third overall at +700 to win the NFC South, after the Bucs (-180) and the Saints (+250). The Falcons are the fourth best bet at +1200.
Quarterbacks to Go In First Three Selections of the 2021 NFL Draft
Now with the quarterback dilemma answered in New York, it’s looking increasingly likely that the first three selections in the 2021 NFL draft will be quarterbacks.
Everyone suspects the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have the coveted No.1 pick, are going to go with a quarterback to kick off the 2021 NFL draft. More specifically, Trevor Lawrence, who has long been held as the presumptive fave to go first overall in the draft, is expected to be the chosen one.
The Jets, who have the No.2 pick, are now absolutely certain to go with a quarterback. While the Niners, who traded up to clinch the No.3 pick last week, are also predicted to choose a quarterback that will be Jimmy Garoppolo’s heir apparent. When that might be is another topic for debate though.
To look at the quarterback class assembled this year, the likeliest candidates are: Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones, the top four quarterbacks on the scouting depth chart that are best positioned in the runup to be selected as second and third overall in the draft.
DraftKings 2021 NFL Draft Pick Odds for First Overall Pick
- Trevor Lawrence -10000
- Zach Wilson +1300
- Justin Fields +2500
- Penei Sewell +4000
- Trey Lance +5000
NY Jets by the Early Odds
Given that the Jets don’t have the answer at the quarterback position, it’s no surprise that they’re amongst the league’s longshots in the betting right now.
As per DraftKings Sportsbook, where the NY Jets are priced at +8000 to win it all, one could say they don’t even have a punter’s chance. Although the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans are priced larger than the Jets – both sit on +15000 odds to lift the Lombardy Trophy – it’s small consolation for fans.
In the narrower divisional frame, things aren’t looking up for the Jets either as they prop up the AFC East division in the betting. They’re the longshots there too at +1500 to wrestle the divisional title from the presumptive early faves and defending champions Buffalo Bills (-150). In the meanwhile, the Dolphins and Patriots are on a level at +350 to give the Bills a run for their money in the divisional battle.
Of course, things can change after the conclusion of the 2021 NFL draft, especially when their quarterback choice is revealed. But, at the same time, they’re unlikely to improve drastically. This is a rebuilding year for the Jets, meaning growing pains are to be expected.