With Carson Wentz traded, how will this affect the market for Sam Darnold?
Attention will first go to Deshaun Watson. As a top-five quarterback at the position most teams value, a name such as the 25-year-old Watson’s will be key for all teams to inquire about.
The Houston Texans quarterback isn’t the only name on the market though, and he certainly isn’t the only quarterback that could still be traded this offseason.
With the Indianapolis Colts adding Carson Wentz, attention turns to Sam Darnold. The New York Jets are starting over with a new regime at head coach, offensive coordinator and general manager. None of them has ties to Darnold and watched the team falter to a 2-14 record.
So, what’s Darnold’s value worth? According to reports from Fansided’s Matt Lombardo, Darnold’s potential value is higher than the former No. 2 pick.
“Sam Darnold has far more upside than Carson Wentz,” an AFC scouting director, not in the market for a quarterback told FanSided. “He also has less money on his contract. Plus, Wentz’s injury history is a major concern, and in that regard, Darnold has far less risk involved.”
What is Darnold’s asking price?
The Philadelphia Eagles agreed to terms that would send Wentz to Indianapolis for a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional second-round selection. Even with Philip Rivers at age 38, the Colts finished 11-5 and made it to the postseason.
Wentz’s production during his five seasons with Philadelphia was a mixed bundle. He threw for 113 touchdowns against 50 interceptions and tallied a 35-32-1 record as the team’s starter. In the right system, the 28-year-old could blossom once more, turning a pretender into a contender.
Three years with an inept offense under Todd Bowles and Adam Gase only harmed Darnold. It also did little for his trade value on the market.
“Some team might look at Sam as a ‘buy low’ option and think they can fix him,” an NFC coach told FanSided. “But the reality is, Sam played very poorly last year. We haven’t evaluated the rookies completely yet, but I’d be inclined to look to the draft rather than to trade for Darnold.”
In 2017, Wentz was on pace to win the MVP. In 2018, the Eagles were 5-6 with him as the starter in 11 games. The 2019 season was a resurgence, but the offensive line and injuries led to Wentz getting waxed by the Seattle Seahawks’ defense in the Wild Card Round.
Darnold hasn’t won more than seven games in a season. He also hasn’t made the postseason once. Again, is this due to production or play-calling?
Should a team trade for Darnold, they would take on a roughly $4.7 million salary hit in 2021, third-lowest among starting quarterbacks from the previous year. Either the team that trades for him or the Jets would also have to decide if picking up the fifth-year option would be in the cards.
Would that enhance or diminish his value long-term?
“If you want a young guy that hasn’t proven it and hasn’t had the talent around him,” an NFC evaluator told Lombardo. “Darnold is your guy.”
The price will likely be a second-round pick now that Wentz only went to a pair of mid-rounders. If a team offers a late addition, expect the 23-year-old to be donning new colors by the end of this spring.