Sam Darnold was traded from the New York Jets to the Carolina Panthers on Monday afternoon. The transaction will certainly impact the 2021 NFL Draft — and the Dallas Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys are currently slotted to draft 10th overall later this month. The assumption was that five teams would draft a quarterback before Dallas came onto the clock. Carolina, who attempted to make a move for Matthew Stafford, was among those teams.

Mac Jones was the quarterback that was heavily linked to Carolina. Panthers head coach Matt Rhule coached Jones during the week at Senior Bowl practices. It made sense to believe that the Panthers would draft a quarterback, leaving another top prospect on the board for when the Cowboys were slotted to pick.

By trading for Darnold. it is safe to assume that the Panthers are out of the first-round quarterback market. Carolina drafted all defense in the 2020 NFL Draft, so the Panthers may look towards surrounding their new quarterback on offense. One of the top wide receiver prospects, Kyle Pitts, or an offensive tackle are all candidates to be drafted by Rhule and company.

That said, Rhule loves defense. It wouldn’t come as a huge surprise if the Panthers do look at one of the best corners in the class. Of course, the Panthers going offense is likely the best bet. But, it is still worth watching because the Cowboys are set to draft after the Panthers.

THE TRADE COULD IMPACT COWBOYS AND THE NFC EAST

Teddy Bridgewater
Dec 27, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) fumbles the ball on a hit by Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young (99) in the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Furthermore, Monday’s trade has a chance to impact the NFC East division. Why? Because this signals that the Panthers want to upgrade from current starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

That might mean that Bridgewater could soon be on the move.

The Washington Football Team is one team that has been rumored to potentially be interested in adding Bridgewater to its quarterback room. Washington signed veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency; however, Ron Rivera has made it known that Fitzpatrick will not be handed the starting gig.

That leaves the door open for Washington possibly adding another quarterback. Sure, Taylor Heinicke will likely receive a legitimate shot to be the starter after his playoff performance against the eventual Super Bowl champions.

However, Bridgewater would be an interesting fit for Rivera in Washington.

Bridgewater is not a quarterback that is going to push the ball down the field in the way that Fitzpatrick most certainly will. Rather, the former Louisville quarterback gets the ball out quick and lets his receivers do the damage. Bridgewater also takes much better care of the ball than Fitzpatrick ever has.

That could be a good recipe for success when factoring in the talented Washington defense. Playing ball control could be the way to go for Rivera, something that Fitzpatrick is not best suited to do.

Either way, this trade will certainly impact the Dallas Cowboys. Carolina is now out of the quarterback market in the first-round, and there is a chance that Teddy Bridgewater could be traded into the division.

The Cowboys are set to take on Sam Darnold and the Panthers this upcoming fall. Darnold beat Dallas in the 2019 season. The Cowboys are certainly hoping that things go differently this time around.

Featured image via Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

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