Home | Articles | Column | The Dolphins-49ers trade suggests Sam Darnold’s Jets days are numbered

The Dolphins-49ers trade suggests Sam Darnold’s Jets days are numbered

CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 01: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York jets during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 01, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins completed a major trade that suggests Sam Darnold’s Jets days are numbered. 

Friday marked a huge shake-up for the 2021 NFL draft, as the San Francisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins completed a huge trade.

The 49ers have moved up to the No. 3 spot in the draft. In doing so, they traded their 12th overall selection, a 2021 third-round pick, and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023.

Shortly after that, the Dolphins made another trade. This time it was with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Dolphins moved back up to sixth overall. In exchange, Miami gave Philly its 12th overall and 2022 first-round pick. The two teams also exchanged mid-round selections.

How does it impact the Jets?

First, we’ll start with the 49ers. It’s been rumored that the team had been trying to move into the top five, and getting the third overall pick solidifies the team’s quarterback aspirations.

This leads one to believe that the team also knows who the Jets plan on selecting with their second overall pick and believe they will have their guy ready to be drafted when they are on the clock.

Whether or not the Niners tried to move into the two-hole is the question of the moment. It appears that’s not the case, per Schefter.

Remember, the Jets and Niners are closely connected now thanks to Robert Saleh’s offseason activity. Perhaps San Fran knows (better than most) what Douglas is going to do at No. 2.

As for the Dolphins, the trade worked out extremely well for them. It also showed two things going forward.

The first being that Tua Tagovailoa’s job is safe—as it should be. Speculation ran rampant that the team could potentially look to move on from the Alabama product, but trading the third overall pick ensures his job security.

Moving up again to the sixth overall selection also tells us that the team has an elite playmaker in mind, one they assume will still be on the board. One would have to assume that this is Ja’Marr Chase, the consensus No. 1 wide receiver in the 2021 draft class. But regardless, the team still holds plenty of versatility at sixth overall.

Beyond that, it sets up the Jets’ rival well for multiple years. The Dolphins may have given up a 2022 first-round selection to move into the sixth overall pick, but they still hold an extra third-round selection in that year.

The team also has two 2023 first-round picks now, giving incredible flexibility to a team that’s showing potential to be on the cusp of sustainable success.

Lastly, this major trade lets one assume that the writing is on the wall for Sam Darnold.

With the haul that the Dolphins received, it hard to believe that Joe Douglas would have rejected the haul Miami received if the team had faith in Darnold moving forward. (Sure, the Schefter report claims the Jets and Niners didn’t have discussions, but the idea that Douglas wasn’t in on something like that if he had already decided on Darnold is tough to believe.) The Niners’ eagerness to trade up suggests they’d also call the Jets who hold the key to the draft (the two-spot).

Zach Wilson’s phenomenal pro day combined with this blockbuster Miami Dolphins-San Francisco 49ers deal suggests the New York Jets will be moving in a new direction at quarterback this offseason.

Whether or not that becomes reality is something only time will determine.

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verge tibbs
3 years ago

To me it looks like sf is going for lance and miami wanted to make sure they didnt miss out on kyle pitts. Too many wrs to trade up, imo

3 years ago
Reply to  verge tibbs

Yes, they may have already decided on Lance or are at the place where they are deciding between him and Fields, whose pro day is Tuesday, but in either case want the guy to spend a year holding a clipboard (or tablet).