Denver Broncos: Sam Darnold trade impact on George Paton’s plan

Denver Broncos offseason: QB #14 Sam Darnold Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos offseason: QB #14 Sam Darnold Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Drew Lock, Denver Broncos
Dec 27, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) looks to pass during the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos‘ 2021 quarterback will not be Sam Darnold.

Considered by many to be the QB1 of the 2018 NFL Draft, things did not work out for Darnold in New York with the Jets and he has now been shipped off to the Carolina Panthers for three (count ’em three) draft choices.

Two of those draft choices will be in 2022, and one of them is a second-round pick. Not a bad haul for the Jets in case the Panthers are not very good in 2021.

Shoutout to the Panthers’ social media team for the strong reaction to the news:

The news of Darnold being moved to Carolina is bittersweet for a number of Denver Broncos fans.

Although many are in the camp of either wanting things to work out with Drew Lock or the team drafting someone in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, there were a number of fans who felt like trading for Darnold (and buying low) was the team’s top option available.

The rationale for wanting Darnold was simple. The third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Darnold was dealt a tough hand coming into the NFL and is still only going to be 24 years old this season. He has had flashes of brilliance, including in multiple appearances against the Denver Broncos.

The rationale for not wanting Darnold is equally viable. The Denver Broncos really already have their own version of Darnold — a talented player who has been inconsistent on the field, struggled with injuries, etc. — already on the roster in Drew Lock, who has a year of experience in Pat Shurmur’s offense under his belt.

The question about who the Denver Broncos’ 2021 starting quarterback will be seems to be down to two options — the 2021 NFL Draft or Drew Lock.

So, George Paton? What’s up next? With each passing day, we’re gaining clarity to the “plan” Paton alluded to at a press conference earlier this offseason.