Saturday, June 12, 2021

Why haven’t the Jets moved Sam Darnold?

With the NFL Draft now just weeks away and free agency mostly in the bag, the New York Jets are still holding stubbornly on to Sam Darnold. Hardly the greatest QB of recent times, but also hardly the worst, and certainly not helped by Adam Gase and his Quarterback whispering.

But while Sam Darnold could still turn out to be a good NFL calibre QB his time in New York has surely come to an end. Everyone knows that it seems except the Jets. Yes the arguments are sound: he’s had no weapons, he’s had horrendous play calling, the line has been a shambles; but now is not the time to dither over a key decision.

This is a new regime set to bring glory back to the New York Jets, to the greatest city in America. It will help everyone forget the dark Adam Gase years, and the 20 years before it. So why haven’t they just pulled the trigger on the first, most obvious, move that will make everyone see that this time things will be different?


Even before the opening of free agency two potential landing spots for Sam Darnold filled their positions when first the Rams shipped Jared Goff, and the Colts acquired Carson Wentz. When free agency finally rolled around the Bears, a great bet for a shifty trade of Ginger Sam, filled their vacancy with Ginger Dalton.

So now we sit, with Sam Darnold in the gym, or watching tape, and the new Jets regime, led by head coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas seemingly unable to make a decision.

Just 2 years ago we saw the folly of moving too slowly, as the Arizona Cardinals moved on from Josh Rosen by selecting Kyler Murray with the first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Unfortunately Rosen was still on their roster at the time, and his trade value tanked.

Somehow they convinced the Miami Dolphins to part ways with a low-end second round selection for the flailing quarterback, a valuation that now seems hard to reach for the Jets.

Sam Darnold: The longer you wait to move him the less you will get ©
Sam Darnold: The longer you wait to move him the less you will get ©

With three teams, allegedly, still in for Sam Darnold, it would be incumbent on the Jets brass to bite their hands off. If Washington, Chicago, and Carolina are on the phone, as reported by sportsnaut just ship him already. I doubt anyone but Carolina is up for it at this point, but maybe the Bears are willing to do the trade if the Jets take Foles? It’s all a bit to chaotic for a new regime.

The longer the Sam Darnold drama is allowed to play out the fewer teams will be in the hunt for a QB. Washington have Ryan Fitzpatrick for next season, not a long-term answer, but there’s no desperation. The same way Carolina have Teddy Bridgewater, and Chicago have Andy Dalton.

There’s no desperation out there. Are those three teams happy at the quarterback spot? Of course not. But to get great value you either need a player lots of teams want, scarcity, or rank desperation. None of which are currently in the room for these teams.

Even with Carolina being the most floated option out there, thanks to Dan Patrick, Sam Darnold is still the second or third option. IF they can’t trade up they’d be interested. The way it’s shaking out a top-5 QB could still fall to them at 8. And with the value of Sam Darnold already apparently down to a third-round pick it’s time already, move the kid on and start the future.


With the Jets surely set to take a QB at number 2 and having failed to move him at this point Sam Darnold could be on the roster as the number two QB in 2021. Does he have the veteran leadership to help teach a rookie QB? Maybe. Maybe this is Darnold’s way to stay in the NFL and get a second chance.

If we’ve learned one thing from this crazy offseason it’s that no team, NOT A SINGLE TEAM, that was QB needy saw Sam Darnold as a guy they could build around. Ironically his two extra years as a starter, that film teams now have on him, has made him less valuable than Josh Rosen was two years ago.

So maybe Darnold starts out ’21 grooming the new guy and then becomes a backup. And next year he signs somewhere else as the backup, or in a spot to compete, and bides his time until his next chance comes.

For the New York Jets it should be all about what’s best for them and that should be moving Sam Darnold as quickly as possible for whatever they can get. Leaving Darnold on the roster will just be another sign that this franchise is doomed and couldn’t even garner a trade for their 2020 starter.

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