When this offseason began Ryan Pace made it abundantly clear that they would leave no stone unturned in their search for their next starting quarterback. “Everything is on the table,” Pace routinely said when questions about the quarterback position came up. But according to Ian Rapoport, once they signed Andy Dalton, Sam Darnold was one option taken off of the Bears’ board.
“Once it became clear that the Jets wanted to do the trade after free agency, which is to say after they thoroughly evaluated all the draft prospects, after they took a look at everyone… a lot of the teams that would’ve been in the market for Sam Darnold— the Bears potentially, the Washington Football Team potentially— those teams chose other quarterbacks,” Rapoport said on the NFL Network. “You know, the Bears with Andy Dalton and the Washington Football Team with Ryan Fitzpatrick. When you looked around there just wasn’t that many other landing spots.”
In the end, Carolina made the deal for Darnold, sending over a 2021 sixth-round pick, plus a second-rounder and fourth-rounder in 2022. According to Rapoport, that dried-up market may have driven the price for Darnold down.
“I would imagine if it was the Jets, they wanted more for Darnold,” Rapoport said. “This was the best deal they could make at this time, with what seemed like the only real suitor available. That’s how Sam Darnold ends up in Carolina.”
Even though the Bears bowed out of the deal, they’ll likely still feel the effects of the trade, mainly when the draft kicks off on April 29. For one, we can lock in the Jets to draft a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick. In addition, the Panthers become less likely to draft a QB at No. 8, or could decide to move back in the draft and trade that valuable top-10 pick to another QB-needy team.