The New York Jets have a major decision to make at the quarterback position this offseason, and they are expected to make a significant trade no matter which path they choose.
The Jets have played their way out of the top overall pick in the draft with back-to-back wins, which means they almost certainly won’t be landing Clemson star Trevor Lawrence. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Jets will now decide if they want to stick with Sam Darnold or draft a quarterback at No. 2. If they choose the former, they will likely trade the second overall pick.
Justin Fields is the obvious pick at No. 2, and he solidified his draft stock with a gutsy performance against Clemson on Friday night. The Ohio State star suffered a rib injury on this bone-crunching hit in the first half but still had a massive game. Fields completed 22-of-28 passes for 385 yards with six touchdowns and an interception in the 49-28 win. He also rushed eight times for 42 yards.
With several teams likely wanting a shot to draft Fields, it would make sense for the Jets to trade the No. 2 pick if they’re keeping Darnold. While he has not played well this season, keeping Darnold might not be the worst move. The former third overall pick is still just 23, and it sounds like New York is planning to make some major changes. Those could benefit Darnold if he sticks around.
Sam Darnold’s future with the New York Jets is murky, but if he is staying, it sounds like he’d be happy to keep working with Adam Gase.
After the Jets grabbed their second consecutive win on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, Darnold was asked about Gase’s future as head coach. Perhaps surprisingly, Darnold gave Gase his full backing and said he hoped to keep working with him.
“I love Adam. I love working for him,” Darnold said, via Connor Hughes of The Athletic.
Despite the endorsement, Darnold and Gase haven’t worked great together. Darnold has failed to progress much under the head coach, and has only eight touchdowns to nine interceptions this season.
The reality is that neither Darnold nor Gase may have any role on the Jets next season. Gase may not even see out the season, though back-to-back wins may save him from that indignity. Darnold’s future is unclear as well, though the Jets’ recent wins may help him out in more ways than one.
The New York Jets jumped out to an early lead over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, and the officials appeared to give them some help on what could have been a turning point late in the first half.
Sam Darnold looked like he was stripped deep in Jets territory in the second quarter, but the call on the field was an incomplete pass. The ruling was somehow upheld upon review. It certainly looked Myles Garrett knocked the ball loose before Darnold’s arm started coming forward.
Former NFL official and current rules analyst Gene Steratore indicated he felt the play was not handled correctly.
A number of things went against the Browns on the play. For starters, the officials blew the whistle. Had they let things play out and ruled it a fumble, the play probably would have stood as called and Cleveland could have walked into the end zone for a touchdown.
With several key playmakers already absent due to an unfortunate COVID-19 situation, a bad break like that was the last thing the Browns needed.
The New York Jets’ final defensive playcall in their loss to the Las Vegas Raiders was so bad that even the team’s own players didn’t hold back with their disapproval.
Ahead 28-24 with 13 seconds left and the Raiders at New York’s 46 yard line, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams opted to rush seven despite the obvious Hail Mary situation. That left Raiders speedster Henry Ruggs alone one-on-one against cornerback Lamar Jackson with no safety help. Ruggs beat Jackson for a 46-yard go-ahead touchdown.
After the game, even Jets players weren’t shy about making their feelings about Williams’ playcall clear.
Quarterback Sam Darnold, when asked about the playcall and then whether Jets players were angry with Williams over it, gave the same response both times, via Connor Hughes of The Athletic: “It is what it is.”
Veteran safety Marcus Maye took things a step further. Maye told reporters four times that the defense “should have been in a better call,” and openly criticized Williams for putting players in a bad spot.
“We have to execute, but you have to help us out at the same time,” Maye said of Williams.
You cannot blame the players for being so upset about the call. This is a winless team that likely would have pulled off the victory had Williams called for a more conventional coverage scheme in that situation. You can really only sympathize with the players in that situation who knew how stupid the call was but couldn’t do anything but try to execute it.
How bad was Williams’ decision? It was bad enough that these respected voices actually accused him of trying to throw the game with it.
The New York Jets are 0-11 and have been an embarrassment this season. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that their quarterback is working on an equally embarrassing streak.
Sam Darnold returned to action in Week 12 after missing time with a shoulder injury. He failed to throw a touchdown for the fourth consecutive game.
According to Pro Football Focus, Darnold has gone 122 straight passes without a touchdown, which is the longest active streak in the league.
Darnold has passed for three touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. This comes after he threw for 36 scores over his first two years. Prior to this season, he only had four games where he did not throw a touchdown, and that never occurred in consecutive weeks.
It’s been an awful year for the Jets, and Darnold has been part of the mess. It would not be so bad for him if the Jets decided to move on from him.
It was not a good week for fringe contenders who wanted to establish themselves as the season gets into its final few weeks. The Cardinals, Rams, Raiders, and Colts were among the teams who really let themselves down and made their tasks much more difficult heading into the last five weeks.
That wasn’t all, though. Here are five big letdowns from Week 12.
Sam Darnold, QB, Jets
Darnold’s return from injury was supposed to bolster the Jets’ offense. It did anything but that. Darnold went just 16/27 and failed to find the end zone in a 20-3 loss to Miami. He did, however, throw two interceptions. It’s true that Darnold has few weapons and is in a terrible environment, but he found some success in the past two years in spite of those hindrances. That’s not happening anymore, and it’s why he may be on his way out of New York.
Las Vegas Raiders
If the Raiders want to solidify a playoff spot, beating teams like the Falcons is what they have to do. Not only did they fail on Sunday, but they did so in spectacular fashion. An Atlanta offense without Todd Gurley or Julio Jones still managed to post 43 points on the Raiders, and Las Vegas only mustered six points on offense. The Falcons have improved lately — that much is clear. This was, however, a brutal showing from Vegas.
Anthony Lynn, coach, Chargers
The Chargers leave a lot of observers confused because they lose so many close games. In tight contests, every little thing matters more. One of those things is clock management, and Lynn is terrible at it. The Chargers looked truly clueless in the final minute of their game against the Bills, which you can see here. The only solace is they probably wouldn’t have won the game anyway. Their end-of-game play is inexplicable, and it’s the reflection of a poorly-coached team.
Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
Murray almost looked intimidated by the New England defense on Sunday. He failed to find the end zone for the first time all season, lacked aggressiveness, and seemed unwilling to run. Perhaps that’s down to the shoulder issue he’s dealt with, or maybe he really was just that thrown off by the New England defense. Regardless, it cost Arizona in a game they probably should have won given how much the Patriots offense sputtered as well.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ secondary
The Kansas City Chiefs have victimized many a secondary in recent years, but rarely have they put a beating on anyone like they did Tampa Bay on Sunday. Tyreek Hill had 203 yards and two touchdowns before the end of the first quarter. Patrick Mahomes looked to have a realistic chance of breaking the single-game record for passing yardage. In the end, he finished with 462 yards, and Hill had 269 of them on the receiving front. The fact that the Buccaneers only gave up 27 points is a minor miracle. That has to get better if they want to make a playoff run.
Bonus: Mitch Trubisky, QB, Bears
The Chicago Bears put up a stinker in primetime on Sunday night, and Mitch Trubisky did not look too hot. Trubisky was playing in his first game since September, and Bears fans were hoping he would inject some life into the team. Instead, Trubisky had two turnovers early that the Packers turned into touchdowns. He had three turnovers in the game. It wasn’t until the game was out of hand at 41-10 that Mitch finally got things going with a pair of touchdown drives to make the final score respectable at 41-25.
There is a growing expectation that the New York Jets will happily draft Trevor Lawrence next April and move on from Sam Darnold as their quarterback. Could it be possible, however, that the Jets might part ways with Darnold even if they don’t land Lawrence?
ESPN’s Rich Cimini wrote Sunday that it is “fair to wonder” if the Jets will look to replace Darnold no matter what happens at the end of the season. Darnold has struggled this season, and the Jets offense has actually looked more capable with veteran Joe Flacco under center. Cimini writes that the organization “must take a hard look at the alternatives” no matter where they end up drafting next April.
As it stands, the 0-11 Jets would draft first next April, giving them the opportunity to make Lawrence their new franchise quarterback. However, the Jacksonville Jaguars are lurking at 1-10, and could still land the top pick if the Jets find a way to win a game or two.
The Jets selected Darnold third overall in 2018, and he showed initial promise, throwing for over 3,000 yards in 2019. He has taken a step back in every way in 2020. Hindered by injuries, he hasn’t been any good when healthy, throwing just three touchdowns against eight interceptions in seven games. It’s bad enough that the Jets may have to confront this surprising reality about his possible trade value.
Mark Sanchez thinks Sam Darnold should consider whether it’s time to move on from the New York Jets.
Darnold was the No. 3 overall pick by the Jets in 2018 and treated as the franchise quarterback. But he hasn’t lived up to that billing so far.
Darnold missed time with mono last year and has had a shoulder injury this year. The Jets are 0-9 and in position to land the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft, which would give them a crack at another quarterback.
Putting that all together leads Sanchez to believe Darnold needs to ponder his future with the Jets. Sanchez shared his thoughts during an appearance on the New York Post’s “Gang’s All Here” podcast.
“Because of the way things have transpired, he’s got to make some serious decisions about the longevity of his career and whether or not playing the rest of this year is even worth it,” Sanchez said, via the New York Post. “If it’s in his best interest. If this season is at a loss, which it looks like already. It’s not like they’re going to turn around and make a playoff run. Now you get into these tough decisions as a competitor thinking, ‘Man, maybe my time’s up here and that’s okay. Maybe it’s best for both sides to move on.’”
If Darnold decided to move on, he would pack it in this season and let Joe Flacco continue to play. The Jets would probably land the top pick, get their choice of college QB, and move on from Darnold.
The similarities between Sanchez and Darnold are not lost on many observers. They were both former USC quarterbacks taken highly by the Jets. Though the Jets had success during Sanchez’s first two seasons, it was mostly thanks to their defense and in spite of Sanchez. Sanchez ended up best known for a huge blunder. Darnold also hasn’t elevated the team. Maybe a new franchise would be helpful for his career.
Sam Darnold was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and is still early in his development as a professional quarterback. And while he may generate trade interest, he probably wouldn’t fetch as big of a return as one might think.
Darnold was inactive for the New York Jets’ game against the New England Patriots on Monday night due to his shoulder injury.
Prior to the game, ESPN’s “Countdown” crew talked about Darnold’s possible trade stock. Adam Schefter said that when he checked around, he found that the trade return for Darnold would not be so great.
“There is definite interest, but it’s probably not as high as I thought,” Schefter said. “I think they get back maybe what the Arizona Cardinals got back for Josh Rosen — a two and a five. Some combination like that. That was the sense that I got from talking with a variety of front office executives.”
Rosen was the No. 10 overall pick in the same draft as Darnold. When Arizona traded Rosen to the Dolphins in 2019 so that they could take Kyler Murray No. 1 overall, they received a late second-round pick and fifth-round pick in return. That turned out to be an overpayment by Miami, as Rosen was cut a year later and is now on Tampa Bay’s practice squad.
Darnold has had some impressive plays here and there and broken through for a good game or two, but he has mostly been below-average in his first three seasons. Some teams might believe that playing for Adam Gase and dealing with mono and other injuries have inhibited his development and could be inclined to give him a look.
This is a big change in the way Darnold has been viewed. Reports said before the season that the young QB was looking great.
The New York Jets are well on their way to securing the first overall pick in next year’s NFL Draft. If that happens, they may no longer have use for Sam Darnold. Does that mean a trade is on the horizon?
There has been increased chatter in recent weeks about the Jets potentially trading Darnold. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, that is not going to happen prior to next week’s trade deadline. However, New York could explore possible trade options for Darnold during the offseason.
Darnold has been inconsistent at best through his first three NFL seasons. Tthe former third overall pick is still just 23, however. Until he plays in a different offense and for a different head coach, there will probably be no way for teams to get a true feel for Darnold’s potential.
It seems highly unlikely that the Jets would pass on Clemson star Trevor Lawrence if they pick first in the 2021 NFL Draft. That is why there’s an assumption that Darnold is on borrowed time in New York. Though, one former Pro Bowler thinks Lawrence should do everything he can to avoid being drafted by the Jets.