Peter King Speculates on Broncos Trade for Jets QB Sam Darnold

A new name in the quarterback rumor mill.


The quarterback carousel continues spinning at a nausea-inducing torrent for the Denver Broncos.

The latest twist comes courtesy of NBC Sports' Peter King, who theorized in his latest Football Morning in America column that Denver could send a 2021 second-round draft pick (No. 40) to the New York Jets for quarterback Sam Darnold.

King based his trade proposition on New York holding the No. 2 overall selection and likely nabbing BYU QB Zach Wilson. He also named Carolina and San Francisco — his "personal favorite" — as potential suitors for Darnold, who may or may not be on the block with the draft 52 days away.

"No team in the next 14 months has a better draft situation than the Jets," King wrote. "Currently, they own a decent piece of quarterback real estate in Sam Darnold. He’s worth, at least, a high second-round pick in this draft—39th overall to Carolina, maybe, or 40th to Denver, or 43rd to San Francisco. (The 49ers are my personal favorite.) ... Someone who knows Jets GM Joe Douglas told me the other day he’s pretty sure the Jets have not made their mind up about the quarterback, and Douglas could be swayed by the quality of offers for Darnold. We’ll see. Smart money says they stick at two, eschew Deshaun Watson, and draft Wilson or their fave of the quarterbacks after Jacksonville takes Trevor Lawrence."

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The second QB chosen in the ballyhooed 2018 class, Darnold has appeared in 38 games as a pro, throwing for 8,097 yards, 45 touchdowns, and 39 interceptions on 59.8% career completion percentage. He made 12 starts last season, tossing nine TDs to 11 INTs for the 2-14 Jets. (Broncos fans recall his nightmarish 46-yard scoring run in Week 4, a 37-28 Denver victory.)

Because Darnold sometimes displays Mahomesian improvisational ability, there are a swath of folks within the league who believe the USC product could be salvaged — if not rebuilt outright, better than ever. Free from the clutches of Adam Gase, Darnold very well may blossom under the right circumstances: on a contending team with a bonafide offensive line, supporting cast, and coaching staff.

The Broncos check a few of those boxes, but not enough to surrender precious capital — gold bullion in general manager George Paton's eyes — for a reclamation project with a $9.794 million salary-cap hit in his scheduled walk year. If they want to save a young signal-caller (or attempt to), the brain trust should start with its own, Drew Lock.

And let this idea die a death.

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