ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Jets have traded Darnold to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for three draft picks: a sixth-rounder in the 2021 NFL Draft later this month, as well as a second-rounder and fourth-rounder in 2022.
The Jets already held the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft and are likely even more inclined to select a quarterback amid Darnold's departure, having recently held multiple virtual meetings with former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini.
The Jets were reportedly "conflicted" by whether to trade the former No. 3 overall pick, who has played for two coaches during his three-year career, ESPN reports. Newly hired head coach Robert Saleh -- who would've been Darnold's third coach with the Jets -- spoke highly of the former USC standout publicly, saying he has "unbelievable arm talent."
General manager Joe Douglas also publicly praised Darnold, but wouldn't commit to him last month and hinted that the Jets were opened to trading him.
Darnold had one year remaining on his rookie contract with the Jets, which included a total of $4.6 million in guaranteed salary and bonuses. The Panthers are obligated to make a decision on Darnold's fifth-year option for 2022 by Mary 3, which includes a pre-determined amount of $18.8 million fully guaranteed.
Darnold enters his fourth NFL season with a 13-25 record in 38 career starts, having recorded 8,097 yards, 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions on 729 of 1,219 passing after being selected third overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.
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