When the New York Jets spent their 2018 third-overall pick on Sam Darnold, they hardly expected that the former USC quarterback would be their 2021 Week 1 opponent.
But here we are.
The NFL released its Week 1 schedule Wednesday morning, and the Jets will be paying a visit to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Sept. 1.
New York traded Darnold to Carolina in early April and received three picks (2021 sixth-rounder plus 2022 second- and fourth-rounder) in return. That set the stage for the Jets to nab BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the second-overall pick April 29.
Darnold never found his footing as a Jet. The 23-year-old threw for 8,097 yards, 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions while posting a 13-25 record across 38 starts. However, he has already begun endearing himself to Panthers faithful:
The Panthers were quarterbacked last season by Teddy Bridgewater, who was dealt to the Denver Broncos the day before this year's draft kicked off.
Carolina finished 2020 at 5-11, while the Jets limped to a 2-14 record.