Sam Darnold may have thrown more career interceptions than he’s played in games, but the Carolina Panthers weren’t the only team interested in the former NY Jets starter.
The Panthers added 23-year-old Darnold, the former No. 3 overall pick, to their roster on Monday in a trade with the Jets in exchange for a late 2021 sixth-rounder and a second and fourth-rounder in 2022.
NFL insider Ian Rapoport reports the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Football Team took a “hard look” at the new Panthers signal-caller.
“Washington had conversations” about the three-year starter as well, but Rapoport said the Jets had not reached a consensus on their quarterback at that point. Washington went on to sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, who joins the re-signed Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen.
The 49ers asked the Jets what it would take to acquire Darnold, Rapoport said. San Francisco has since taken a much more dramatic QB approach.
The 49ers have traded up from the 12th overall pick to the third overall in a deal with the Miami Dolphins. Miami receives the 12th overall selection from San Francisco, a third-round pick and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, per NFL Network.
While the Panthers have the eighth overall pick — and seven picks total — in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jets have the ability to draft BYU QB Zach Wilson.
Darnold completed 239 of 414 passes his rookie season for 2,865 yards, 17 TDs and 15 INTs, all for a 77.6 passer rating in 2018.
Last season, his stat line included 217-of-364 passing for 2,208 yards, nine TDs, 11 INTs, and a 72.7 rating.
He had a 46-yard scramble for a touchdown against Denver and averaged 5.9 yards/carry, but the Jets couldn’t get any winning traction until late in the season against the Los Angeles Rams and home against Cleveland.
For his Jets career, Darnold’s passing line reads 729-of-1,219 passing for 8,097 yards, 45 touchdowns, 39 interceptions, and a 78.6 rating. He also ran for 417 yards and five touchdowns on 114 carries.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas spoke highly of the QB and his professionalism throughout the trade.
“I want to publicly acknowledge the commitment, dedication, and professionalism Sam displayed while with the Jets. He is a tough-minded, talented football player whose NFL story has not been written yet,” Douglas said. “While all these things are true, this move is in the short- and long-term best interests for both this team and him. We thank Sam for all of his work on behalf of this organization and wish him well as he continues his career.”