As Sam Darnold prepares in earnest for Sunday's showdown with the Rams in Los Angeles, his future with the Jets continues to be debated.
If New York does go on to secure the top pick of next spring's draft—which means the Jets would be able to select Clemson's quarterback Trevor Lawrence—then what happens to Darnold?
One NFL insider thinks that Darnold is not only talented enough to start over for another NFL team, but that New York may be pleasantly surprised at what it can get in return in a trade for Darnold this offseason.
In an appearance on SNY's 'The Tailgate' this week, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer predicted that the Jets would receive a second-round pick, or perhaps even a late first-rounder, in a package for Darnold.
"I do think that there would be a market because there's sort of a unique situation where the Jets can sell the idea that it's not like this guy failed, we just have a better opportunity here in front of us," Breer said. "Something logically that you can wrap your head around if you're another team, there are a fair number of teams that really thought highly of Sam coming out in 2018 that might be willing to deal a second-round pick and maybe a day three pick for him or maybe even a late first-rounder."
All the Jets need to do to guarantee the No. 1 pick of the 2021 NFL draft is lose their final three games. The Jacksonville Jaguars (at 1-12) are still in play, but New York controls its own destiny at 0-13.
If Gang Green happens to fall out of the top slot, however, then things get a little more complicated. Breer explains that after a third season with a franchise quarterback acquired through the draft, you have to "marry" the player going forward. That means not only would the Jets pick up Darnold's fifth-year option, but they would likely look at extending him as well.
There are other talented prospects at the quarterback position set to be available after the first pick, but to Breer, it's a clear decision if New York is picking at No. 1.
Should the Jets move on from Darnold, Breer believes the former first-rounder still has what it takes to be another team's starting quarterback as soon as next season. Trading Darnold away is simply a testament to the caliber of the prospect that's available.
"I think that there's definitely potential for him to go somewhere else and get a nice restart," Breer said. "This is a very unique situation and I don't think the Jets would move on for just any quarterback. The fact is, Trevor Lawrence is on another level than most quarterbacks that we've seen come out. He's in a category with John Elway, with Peyton Manning, with Andrew Luck. Coming out, that's the sort of grade that he's going to have and a true once in a decade prospect at the most important position, that's why you're moving on from Sam Darnold. It's not because Sam can't play, it's because the other guy is a generational prospect."
More on Sam Darnold and Trevor Lawrence from Jets Country:
- Trevor Lawrence Says He's 'Ready' For Any NFL Challenge, Even Being Drafted By the Jets
- Sam Darnold Sees Himself As Part of Jets' Future: 'I Want To Be a Jet For Life'
- Mark Sanchez Thinks It Might Be Time For Sam Darnold to 'Move On' From Jets
- This Former Jets Defensive Lineman Thinks New York Is a Great Fit For Trevor Lawrence
- Could the Patriots Be a Realistic Destination for Sam Darnold if the Jets Draft Trevor Lawrence?