OPINION: Can Sam Darnold Wreck the Jets’ Zach Wilson Party in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL Season?

Published 05/12/2021, 12:29 PM EDT
Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) looks to pass under pressure from New England Patriots defensive end Chase Winovich (50) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports


Rarely can a stage be set as perfectly as it is for Sam Darnold to make the New York Jets regret their decision to let him go. With the Carolina Panthers taking on the Jets in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, Darnold will surely have revenge on his mind.

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The QB was drafted by the Jets franchise amidst much fanfare back in 2018. But after 3 shaky seasons, the franchise decided to take a different path.

With a new Head Coach-rookie QB duo in Robert Saleh and Zach Wilson, the Jets will look to start afresh. But could Darnold play spoilsport in the Jets’ first step towards redemption?

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Sam Darnold will be eager to make a mark

Darnold was traded to the Carolina Panthers for a 2021 6th-round pick and 2nd and 4th-round selections in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Trading Darnold paved the way for the Jets to draft BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the #2 overall pick. But Wilson, who is touted as the man to help turn the franchise’s fortunes, will face a tough first test in the NFL.

Former New York Jets head coach Adam Gase, left, talks with quarterback Sam Darnold (14). They faced the Baltimore Ravens, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
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For Darnold, this is personal. The quarterback, after making the trade, said that the way the Jets made him feel unwanted bothered him.

While the Jets are in rebuild mode, the Panthers definitely have a few weapons to help Darnold eke out a win over his former side.

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While in the Big Apple, one could forgive Darnold for his blemishes, considering the lack of support available to him on offense. But at Carolina, Darnold will have one of the game’s best running backs in Christian McCaffrey.

And even apart from that, the Panthers have been making sure that Darnold is stacked with options come 2021. After selecting cornerback Jaycee Horn with the 8th overall pick, the Panthers drafted four consecutive offensive players. Wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr, offensive tackle Brady Christensen, tight end Tommy Tremble and running back Chuba Hubbard.

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But most importantly, the Panthers have faith in their new QB, something that wasn’t quite the case back in New York. Eager to make the Jets regret their decision to let him go, do you think Sam Darnold can get a win over his former side in Week 1 of the 2021 season?

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Shivayan Roy

1067 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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