Sam Darnold expected greatness with Jets: 'Play 20 years and win Super Bowls'

Chris Cwik
·2-min read

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold had lofty goals with the New York Jets. In his first comments since being traded to the Panthers, Darnold revealed he expected to play 20 years with the Jets and win multiple Super Bowls, according to the New York Daily News.

That ... didn't happen. Darnold lasted just three years with the Jets, winning 13 games over that period. He threw for 8,097 yards with the team, and added a 45-39 touchdown to interception ratio. 

Despite the Jets' struggles, Darnold expected the team would turn things around.

“My expectations were to go in there and play 20 years and win Super Bowls. That was the dream going in there but obviously it didn’t work out,” Darnold said. “Just thankful for the opportunity that organization gave me the three years that I was with them.

“I always thought that I could make it work in New York, just being honest, I really did,” Darnold said. “My goal never changed even though there was speculation about me getting traded. I always believed that I can make it work and that we were going to get pieces and just win some games in New York and can go to the playoffs and eventually win a Super Bowl.”

With the Jets holding the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft, the team shipped Darnold to the Panthers in April. The Jets are expected to start fresh and select a new quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick.

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Can Sam Darnold turn things around in Carolina?

Darnold's dreams with the Jets didn't come true, but the team's struggles weren't all his fault. Darnold was drafted by Todd Bowles, but Bowles was fired after Darnold's rookie season. The Jets then hired Adam Gase, and the team failed to improve in two seasons under him. Darnold showed little development under Gase.

While that sounds bleak, offensive players have improved after leaving Gase. Kenyan Drake, DeVante Parker and Ryan Tannehill all posted strong seasons after Gase left the Miami Dolphins. After looking like an average quarterback with the Dolphins, Tannehill became an essential member of the Tennessee Titans and signed a four-year, $118 million extension with the team in 2020. 

That's the hope for Darnold now that he's with the Panthers. Carolina head coach Matt Rhule is considered an up-and-coming offensive mind, and it's possible he can unlock the traits that made Darnold a standout talent in the 2018 draft. 

Darnold won't be handed the starting job. Despite having Teddy Bridgewater and Darnold, the Panthers are still looking for quarterback upgrades. 

If Darnold can win the job, he'll get an opportunity to prove the Jets wrong. While Darnold will never live up to the lofty expectations he set with the Jets, a strong second act with the Panthers is not out of the question.

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