In the event the New York Jets wanted to move on from Sam Darnold, they might not be able to match the investment they made in the 2018 first-round pick.
The MMQB's Albert Breer reported on the possible trade market for Darnold:
"And to continue the exercise, I did reach out to a few people to gauge what the price tag might be for Darnold—and what they'd be willing to pay. One NFC exec said, 'A little more than the [Josh] Rosen trade, so maybe a second and a fourth.' An AFC scouting director was willing to go a little further than that, saying, 'If you had a 1 in the 20s like, say, a Pittsburgh, I'd do it. The kid's talented as hell and is under a brutal [situation].' A second NFC exec said he'd consider 'a late 1 this year for him, maybe two 2s,' and added 'He's still an asset. This isn't Hackenberg.'"
One could argue executives from outside of the Jets have an incentive to trend toward the lower end of Darnold's trade value. Even anonymously, there's little reason to say you'd be willing to give up the farm for somebody under contract to another team.
But there's no question Darnold's stock has steadily fallen since the Jets selected him third overall two years ago. His performance has been particularly bad this year. Through four games, he has thrown for 792 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions while completing only 59.4 percent of his passes.
The Jets are 0-5 and might have the No. 1 overall pick, thus giving them a shot at Clemson star Trevor Lawrence should he declare for the 2021 draft.
Add in the fact that head coach Adam Gase may not be around come draft day, and a quarterback change could be in the offing.
In the event Darnold might look to be on the way out, though, one general manager explained to ESPN's Adam Schefter how the Jets won't have a ton of leverage:
"I don't think they'd get a [first-round pick] for Sam, but it also depends what he puts on tape the rest of the year. The problem is, [Darnold] is struggling with his accuracy, his durability—so they're in a tough spot. And if everyone knows the Jets are taking a quarterback, then they won't get as much back."
The Arizona Cardinals used the 10th overall pick on Josh Rosen in 2018. One year later, they settled for a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 fifth-rounder for Rosen in a trade with the Miami Dolphins. Once everyone perceived the Cardinals coveted Kyler Murray, teams were going to drive a hard bargain.
And the same thing would presumably happen with Darnold. This is the price the Jets would have to pay for their failures with regard to Darnold's development.