The higher you start, the harder your fall is.
At one point in his life, he was on top of the football world as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Darnold was the franchise quarterback for arguably the biggest media market in the world.
Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there.
Injuries, turnovers, and the kissing disease mononucleosis were Darnold’s downfall. He went from franchise savior to the trade block.
Last offseason the Jets dealt him to the Carolina Panthers for a package of draft picks including a 2021 sixth-rounder and a second and fourth-rounder in 2022.
Now it appears he could finally be hitting rock bottom.
ALL the latest Jets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Jets newsletter here!
Unfortunate Series of Events
Darnold with this trade had a chance at a new life. With a brand new coaching staff, philosophy, and new surroundings it was a chance for a fresh start.
Sadly it didn’t go the way anyone was hoping for. He finished with one of the lowest quarterback ratings of his career (33.1) and had more interceptions (13) than passing touchdowns (9).
Now heading into his fifth professional season the writing is on the wall that Darnold may be looking for his third team in three years.
Michelle Bruton of Bleacher Report threw out six “big name” NFL players who could be cut this offseason. Darnold had the unfortunate distinction of cracking this list.
The worst part is this potential release by the Panthers would save them virtually no money ($273,000). So in other words, Carolina was so disappointed by Darnold’s performance that they’d rather pay him $18.5 million fully guaranteed to either sit at home or play for another team, than suit up for the Panthers.
If that isn’t an indictment on his career, I’m not sure what is.
A Potential Landing Spot
In that same column, Bruton also provided a possible destination for Darnold to land if this move came to fruition.
They mentioned the Houston Texans who have a completely unsettled quarterback situation.
Deshaun Watson is a name that has been floated around for the last year and his departure seems inevitable. That would leave youngster Davis Mills as the primary quarterback left and while he showed some flashes in his rookie campaign, he could use some competition.
Darnold’s days as an unquestioned starter are over, but in a place like Houston, he could build himself back up and have a chance to reemerge at a later point as a starter.
Despite being in the league already over four years, the former USC product is still only 24 years of age (will be 25 by the start of the 2022 season). While the tape has shown some terrible flaws in his game, there are always going to be people in the NFL that believe they can fix a talented piece of clay.
Darnold is no exception.
Although it has been quite a fall from grace for the former $30 million quarterback with the Jets who is now likely destined for another change of scenery in 2022.