Sam Darnold trade winners, losers: Fallout extends beyond Jets, Panthers

As quarterback turnover defines yet another NFL offseason, the league's version of QB musical chairs went through yet another iteration Monday afternoon.

The New York Jets pulled the plug on Sam Darnold after three seasons, trading the No. 3 pick of the 2018 draft to the Carolina Panthers for three draft choices – two of them Day 3 selections, the other a second-rounder in 2022. 

Though Darnold's move is unlikely to have the same impact as this year's earlier deals involving Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, there will most surely be ripple effects. Here's a rundown of the likely winners and losers from Monday's transaction:


Darnold: He escapes The Big Apple after three turbulent seasons and gets resolution on his future after months of speculation regarding it. The Panthers should also provide a stable environment given coach Matt Rhule is under contract for six more seasons, and offensive coordinator Joe Brady, 31, is considered one of the game's bright, up-and-coming play callers.

Darnold's bank account: One reason it made sense for the Jets to move on from a quarterback once widely considered the best passing prospect in a 2018 draft that included Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield was the opportunity to reset their financial clock at the position. As much as the deck had been stacked against Darnold, he'd done little to justify the long-term investment that New York would have been compelled to consider by rebuilding around him. However as Darnold heads to Charlotte, it's hard to imagine the Panthers won't pick up his fifth-year option – worth $18.9 million for the 2022 season – before this year's May 3 deadline. Darnold is also due to make $4.8 million this year, the most he'll earn since receiving his $20 million rookie signing bonus, and almost surely has at least the next two years to prove he's worth far more.

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