Star USC QB Sam Darnold reveals what he told the Jets when they looked to trade him

Sam Darnold, USC Football, USC Trojans
Sam Darnold, USC Football, USC Trojans / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

USC football sensation Sam Darnold was traded last offseason by the New York Jets to the Carolina Panthers. It was an interesting move by New York, as they decided he was the one who needed to go after they had given him the worst head coach in the game in Adam Gase, as well as the worst supporting cast in football.

His receivers to throw to were Braxton Berrios and Chris Hogan if that gives you an idea, and he also had arguably the worst offensive line in football if not THE worst offensive line in football. They decided to trade him for a 2021 sixth round pick and both a second and fourth round pick in 2022.

Darnold recently revealed on the "Bussin With the Boys" podcast hosted by NFL Offensive Tackle Taylor Lewan and NFL free agent linebacker Will Compton that he told the Jets they were making a mistake when they let him know that they were looking at making a move:

Rose Bowl-winning USC QB Sam Darnold was not afraid to speak his mind on the Jets' decision.

Since they did not have a starting QB after Sam Darnold left, the Jets had to draft one at pick No. 2. They took Zach Wilson out of BYU. They built Wilson a decent offensive line (in part due to the services they got from also drafting another one of SC fans' favorite Trojans in Alijah Vera-Tucker), as well as a much better group of skill position players.

They put together a decent running back room by grouping Tevin Coleman together with Ty Johnson (who was already there) and Michael Carter. Drafting Elijah Moore and adding Corey Davis, the Jets finally gave their quarterback a real set of receivers to catch passes.

Still, however, Wilson was worse than Darnold in 2021, despite having a significantly better O-Line, and a better running game (Darnold unfortunately only had Christian McCaffrey running behind him in two games and part of a third).

Wilson also got the best head coaching hire of the offseason in Robert Saleh, whereas Darnold is stuck with a coach on the hot seat in Matt Rhule. Darnold's offensive coordinator in Carolina, Joe Brady, was so bad that he had to be fired during the season. Even then, check out Darnold's 2021 statistics (on the left) vs. Wilson's 2021 statistics (on the right) here:

4-7 W-L record//////////3-10 W-L record

59.9 completion percentage//////////55.6 completion percentage

2,527 passing yards//////////2,334 passing yards

6.2 yards per pass attempt//////////6.1 yards per pass attempt

9 passing touchdowns//////////9 passing touchdowns

5 rushing touchdowns//////////4 rushing touchdowns

71.9 passer rating//////////69.7 passer rating

33.2 QBR//////////28.2 QBR

This is also with the reality that Darnold was great when Panthers' franchise player McCaffrey was in the mix. In the three games McCaffrey was healthy to play with Darnold, Darnold went 3-0. He completed 68.22% of his passes for 888 yards and six touchdowns (three passing, three rushing) with just one pick.

It was after McCaffrey went down where Darnold appeared to struggle, but after the firing of Brady and the downgrade in QB play for the games Darnold was injured in, it was clear that Darnold was not the problem. Take a peak at how the Panthers QB for when Darnold was hurt did compared to Darnold (on the left are Darnold's numbers and on the right are Cam Newton's):

4-7 W-L record//////////0-5 W-L record

59.9 completion percentage//////////54.8 completion percentage

6.2 yards per pass attempt//////////5.4 yards per pass attempt

5.2 adjusted yards per pass attempt//////////4.3 adjusted yards per pass attempt

10.4 yards per completion//////////9.9 yards per completion

3.2 INT percentage//////////4 INT percentage

71.9 passer rating//////////64.4 passer rating

33.2 QBR//////////25.5 QBR

And this is even with Newton being able to play with McCaffrey for four games before he went down again, and Darnold didn't have the chance to play with him when he came back from his injury. Despite Darnold dealing with what he dealt with, he proved to be better than Wilson in 2021.

In fairness to the Jets, they did receive compensation for Darnold, so it's unfair to look at the trade by just comparing quarterbacks. The reality also is, however, that the Jets could have used that No. 2 pick to build around a quarterback who at least has been better than Wilson so far if they kept Darnold.

They could have taken excellent Offensive Tackle Penei Sewell or excellent TE/WR freak Kyle Pitts for instance. They also could have even traded down for a bounty of picks to find help beyond just one more high draft selection.

Next. USC Football Spring Ball Depth Chart. dark

Unfortunately, however, Darnold has not had the chance to prove himself with either the Jets or the Panthers, as the circumstances he's dealt with within both these organizations has been well-documented in this article. If the Panthers don't improve the situation around Darnold to one where a quarterback can have success, he may never get the shot to prove just how big of a mistake the Jets have made.