The Sam Darnold era in New York is over.
"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," Jets general manager Joe Douglas said in a statement. "While all these things are true, this move is in the short- and long-term best interests for both this team and him."
Darnold joined the Jets as the third overall pick in 2018, and he's failed to meet high expectations.
The USC product has posted a 13-25 record as a starter while averaging just 3,409 yards and 19 touchdowns against 16 interceptions per 16 games played. The 23-year-old is coming off his worst campaign after registering a career-low passer rating (72.7).
The Darnold trade strongly suggests the Jets will select a quarterback with the second overall pick on April 29. Former BYU star Zach Wilson, who's theScore's third-ranked quarterback prospect, has been linked to New York on multiple occasions.
The Jets now hold 21 picks over the next two drafts, including seven first- or second-round selections.
The Panthers have been looking for a new starting signal-caller since releasing Cam Newton after the 2019 season. Carolina inked Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $63-million deal last offseason, but he went 4-11 in his first campaign with the team while recording just 3,733 passing yards and 15 touchdowns.
Despite his own struggles, there's still some optimism that Darnold holds untapped potential due to his age. Carolina's rising offense might be able to put him in a position to succeed, with coordinator Joe Brady leading the unit.
Darnold is entering the fourth year of his rookie contract, and the Panthers plan to exercise his fifth-year option, a source told Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports. He's set to make $23.5 million over the next two seasons.
The Panthers will host the Jets in 2021.