It started with beers in Mobile, Alabama, and it ended two months later with one of the most important trades in New York Jets history. It happened on St. Patrick’s Day 2018. Fifteen minutes before the holiday’s annual parade commenced on the streets of Manhattan, the Jets announced their blockbuster trade with the Indianapolis Colts — a stealth move that was bold, unconventional and shook up the top of the NFL draft.

One year later, it wouldn’t shock anyone if the decision-makers at One Jets Drive hoist a pint of Guinness to celebrate the anniversary of the trade that begat their franchise quarterback.

“We feel very good about Sam Darnold and, obviously at that position, we feel we have a very good young player to work with going forward,” Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said at the recent NFL scouting combine.

The trade was gutsy and somewhat reckless, yet brilliantly conceived. Does that make sense?

The Jets paid a premium to move up three spots in the draft, not knowing which quarterback would be available with the No. 3 overall pick. In a way, it was a blind leap, but they felt comfortable in making the move because of the intel they had gathered on the top quarterbacks and the top quarterback-needy teams. Their best-case scenario unfolded, as Darnold — the No. 1 player on their draft board — fell to them at No. 3.

In retrospect, the trade might have saved Maccagnan’s job. It also has factored into the team’s aggressive spending this offseason because, without the three second-round picks that went to the Colts, they felt compelled to buy starting-level talent in free agency. Let’s be clear, though: Then and now — and 15 years from now — the trade will be graded on Darnold.

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