Quarterback Sam Darnold was traded from the Jets to the Panthers for a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft and second- and fourth-round picks in the 2022 draft. Steve Luciano/Associated Press

NEW YORK — The New York Jets traded quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers, ending a stint that was marked by a few flashes of brilliance, inconsistent play and unfortunate injuries.

And with the Jets holding the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft, they’re likely moving on to another young signal-caller who they hope will deliver the team back to respectability. New York announced it acquired a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft and second- and fourth-round picks in the 2022 draft.

The 23-year-old Darnold was considered an untouchable player on the roster in his second season, but it became clear the Jets could move on when General Manager Joe Douglas backed off that stance in March. Douglas praised Darnold, but acknowledged he would answer calls from teams interested in acquiring him.

The speculation only grew when Douglas, new coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur all traveled to Provo, Utah, to watch quarterback Zach Wilson’s impressive passing display at BYU’s pro day. With the second pick, the Jets are widely expected to take either Wilson or Ohio State’s Justin Fields.

Then-GM Mike Maccagnan traded up to select Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick in 2018 out of USC. Darnold’s California cool personality played well in New York and he seemed unfazed by the lofty expectations and the Big Apple spotlight.

But a foot injury as a rookie, a bout with mononucleosis in his second year and a shoulder injury last season sidelined him for stints. And when he did play, Darnold’s mistakes overshadowed the positives. That led to serious doubts as to whether he could ever truly lift the franchise. Former coach Adam Gase also acknowledged he didn’t help Darnold enough to thrive in their two seasons together, and the Jets lacked playmaking talent to help him take the next step in his development.

Another likely determining factor was his contract. Darnold was entering the fourth year of his rookie deal and was scheduled to count $9.8 million against the Jets’ salary cap. New York would have had until May 3 to decide whether to exercise Darnold’s fifth-year option – which would have cost the Jets between $15 million and $20 million, fully guaranteed.

Darnold gets a much-needed change of scenery and a new opportunity in Carolina, where he’ll also be reunited with wide receiver Robby Anderson.

In 38 games with the Jets – all starts – he threw for 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions. Darnold is also coming off his worst statistical season with just nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

For Carolina, the trade further clouds the future of Teddy Bridgewater, who was 4-11 last season as a starter and struggled to win close games down the stretch.

BUCCANEERS: Tampa Bay cornerback Carlton Davis has apologized for tweeting an anti-Asian slur, saying he didn’t understand the offensive nature of a word he used.

A key member of the Bucs’ Super Bowl-winning defense, Davis is a native of South Florida who said he thought he was using a term meaning “lame” in a tweet directed toward a producer claiming he “ran Miami.” The player’s initial quote  was made on Sunday and later deleted.

“I used a term that from where I come from has always meant “lame” but I did not realize it has a much darker, negative connotation,” Davis tweeted later. “I have learned a valuable lesson and want to apologize to anyone that was offended by seeing that word because we need to focus on helping each other during these tough times.”

Bucs General Manager Jason Licht released a statement Monday, saying the team had been “in communication with Carlton regarding his social media post from Sunday evening.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.