REPORT: New York Jets Rejected First Round Pick From 49ers for Sam Darnold

Published 04/16/2021, 12:59 PM EDT
Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) heads to the bench during the first half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports


After months of speculation, Sam Darnold finally has a new home. The former New York Jets quarterback lost a lot of momentum and acclaim in the 3 seasons that he played with them.

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However, now he gets a chance to start fresh after the Jets decided to send him away. Darnold now plays for the Carolina Panthers, but it could have been a different NFL franchise if the Jets had decided to jump on the offer.

NFL analyst Cecil Lammey revealed that Sam Darnold could have easily gone to another team – the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers offered their 2021 1st-round pick, the one they eventually moved up from, to the New York Jets. However, the management had doubts about Zach Wilson, and how his injury history would affect his game.

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But now, the Jets have found full confidence in Wilson. Therefore, they sent Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for a low haul. The Jets got a 2021 6th-round pick, and 2022 2nd and 4th-round picks for the former #3 overall pick.

For Darnold, this trade offered him a chance to make the Jets look foolish by completely transforming into the player everyone thought he would eventually become.

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Sam Darnold getting a new fresh start

It is surprising that the New York Jets chose to pass up on the offer of a 1st-round pick. Getting the 49ers’ (then) 12th pick in the draft would have been extremely helpful in providing more quality to the offensive line that would be operated by the new quarterback.

However, given the doubts that they had regarding Zach Wilson’s health at the time, the decision is somewhat understandable. Nonetheless, with the benefit of hindsight, the Jets will be wishing they had taken that deal.

Dec 20, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) tries to run away from Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) during the third quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

For Sam Darnold, his upcoming stint with the Carolina Panthers is the biggest opportunity of his career. Three seasons in New York only hurt his career. However, he did face several challenges with the franchise.

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Over the three years that he spent there, Darnold had to see the coach and the General Manager that drafted him walk away from the team. That would have been a demoralizing blow for him.

Can Sam Darnold redeem his career with the Panthers? Playing in a smaller market, for a team that has the tools to be successful could be a good deal for him. However, he needs to work very hard in order to find success in Carolina.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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