FLORHAM PARK, N.J. For two consecutive off-seasons, the New York Jets enjoyed the unusual luxury (for them) of not having to worry about the quarterback position. Sam Darnold was her type, and there was every reason to believe he would be the type for a long time.
Then the 2020 NFL season happened. Darnold played poorly. He got hurt. The team stank. The trainer was fired. Now that there are several ways to improve the position, Jets officials are refusing to sign up for Darnold as a starter for 2021. We still love you, Sam, but …
“It wouldn’t be fair to give that answer now,” said Jets trainer Robert Saleh at his introductory press conference. “There is a lot of discussion with Joe [Douglas] and its employees. “
Douglas, the general manager, has three months to resolve the organization’s biggest problem. In a vacuum, Darnold’s decision would be tough enough, but it’s made difficult by what may be the wildest off-season for quarterback moves in recent past.
Several stars, notably Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, could change their addresses. There are different levels of uncertainty surrounding Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams. The upside for the Jets is that it could be a buyer’s market for trades. The disadvantage is that they could also be sellers; You couldn’t get that much for Darnold if they decide to keep going.
The Jets would be guilty of organizational misconduct if they didn’t seriously consider alternatives to Darnold, who threw nine touchdown passes (12 games) in a season that saw the most in league history (871). New York can’t just blame ex-trainer Adam Gase and bring it back with Darnold without exploring the countryside.
A breakdown of the most suitable quarterback options for the Jets based on our preference:
Mike Greenberg sees signs that Deshaun Watson may want to be sold to the Jets, and Dan Graziano dismisses the possibility that he will be traded there.
1. Deshaun Watson, Texan
Current status: Requested trade
Advantages: It’s a rare opportunity to get a legitimate franchise quarterback in its prime. He is 25 and has already been selected for three Pro Bowls. It would be ideal for the Jets’ new offensive, a west coast system that emphasizes the ability to throw on the run. Its mere presence would give hope to the organization and it is difficult to put a price on it. Make that deal and the Jets would have their most promising coach-quarterback tandem in a long time.
Disadvantage: The compensation will be massive. Conventional wisdom suggests that it takes three picks on the first round and a few more. On their 2009 deal for Jay Cutler, the Chicago Bears gave up two round one picks, a third-placed finish and a quarterback Kyle Orton – and Cutler wasn’t close to Watson. One thing to note: The top selection of jets (No. 2 overall) is worth two and a half times as much as, for example, the 16th selection, as can be seen from the commonly used trade value table. If the Jets gave up the fort for Watson, they would be at a disadvantage in trying to build around it.
Cap Impact: Watson will be signed up to 2025 with salary caps between $ 10.5 million (2021) and $ 37 million (2023). Considering the market, this is not an outrageous contract. I’ve been told the Jets aren’t his first choice, as a recent report from South Florida said, but it’s still possible he could add them to a list of preferred teams. Watson’s no-trade clause allows him to control where he lands – if the Texans decide to move him.
Abnormal status: Watson took third place in completion rate (70.2), despite averaging 9.0 meters of air per attempt (fourth place), according to NFL Next Gen Stats.
Current status: Authorized to design
Advantages: Wilson has had a stellar junior season and has risen so much that he is now viewed by many talent judges as the top quarterback prospect that was not named Trevor Lawrence. Wilson is a highly skilled passerby with tremendous zip and long ball accuracy. He moves very well and shows the ability to play out of pocket on schedule. It would also be an ideal scheme for the Jets. By and large, Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur could start over with their own quarterback. Capwise could reset them with a rookie contract, which gives them cost security through 2024.
Disadvantage: The concerns are his injury history and the level of competition. After his first season, Wilson had surgery on his throwing shoulder to repair a labrum. As a sophomore (2019), he missed the time after surgery on his throwing hand. Some wonder if his less-than-imposing body (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) can withstand the NFL’s weekly punishment. He racked up impressive stats at BYU, but his numbers against ranked teams were pedestrian – a 2-4 record with 1,569 yards, eight touchdowns, and five interceptions.
Cap Impact: The NFL has a newbie slot system, so his contract would be similar to last year’s runner-up Washington Football Team’s Chase Young – four years, $ 34.6 million. This is affordable and would allow the flexibility to build other areas of the roster.
Abnormal status: Wilson threw three interceptions in 336 attempts in 2020, and one of the picks came on a Hail Mary.
3. Sam Darnold, Jets
Current status: Official
Advantages: He’s still young (turns 24 in June) and still hasn’t had the advantage of playing with a strong supporting cast. In three seasons Darnold had practically no running game. Saleh has talked a lot about Darnold and he doesn’t blow smoke. He believes there is untapped potential that can be tapped through better coaching and a system change. Darnold would fit nicely into LaFleur’s quarterback-friendly system that uses game action, misdirection, and posable bags.
Disadvantage: Darnold is still unable to read defenses. He gets into trouble because sometimes he doesn’t see beyond his number 1 and the main defender. He undoubtedly has room to grow, but recent history shows that quarterbacks rarely make a quantum leap after three or four years in the league. Darnold was the passerby with the lowest rating in 2020 (72.7). Let’s say it improves to the 15-20 range. Can the jets live with that? Is it worth the long-term contract extension he’d be aiming for after the ’21 season? There is also a question about durability; He has missed 10 games in three years due to injury and illness.
Cap Impact: He still has one year left on his rookie contract ($ 9.8 million cap). The Jets have until the beginning of May to decide on his option for the fifth year 2022 (approx. USD 25 million, fully guaranteed). There’s little point in making that kind of commitment based on your job, so we’re probably talking about a year-long audition in 2021. If he stutters, he’s likely going as a free agent, and the Jets will have to grab the two picks the first Round in 2022 to find a replacement. If Darnold excels, it means a lucrative new deal.
Abnormal status: Darnold had the fifth highest degree of completion (92.3) when not under pressure and throwing at wide-open receivers (at least 3 meters away), according to NFL Next Gen Stats. These are called optimal conditions.
Mel Kiper Jr. outlines who could be the second quarterback selected in the 2021 NFL draft and how that would affect Falcon’s QB Matt Ryan.
Current status: Authorized to design
Advantages: There is no doubt about his poor talent; It was seen in his six touchdown performance against Clemson in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs. Fields is also a fast and elusive runner who adds another dimension to the offense. Conclusion: He’s a playmaker. In two seasons in Ohio, he produced 84 touchdowns – 69 passes, 15 rushings. He would be a dynamic option in the quarterback position that the Jets have never had … maybe never.
Disadvantage: Fields don’t seem natural when in the pocket and cycling through their advances. With his # 1 reading covered, he tends to hold the ball instead of moving quickly to # 2. He got away with it in college because his primary wide receivers were usually open ended, but that won’t be the case in the NFL. Because of this, development could take longer than Wilson’s. He fought Indiana, Northwestern, and Alabama. So what will happen against a defense trained by Bill Belichick?
Cap Impact: See Wilson’s entry as it is the same.
Abnormal status: Fields took third place in the completion rate (61.3) among the Power 5 quarterbacks with throws of at least 20 air meters according to ESPN Stats & Information. Wilson finished second (62.3%) behind Stanfords Davis Mills (64.7%).
Jeremy Fowler predicts a few teams that might be interested in quarterback Matthew Stafford, including the Colts at the top of the list and Washington as the sleeper.
Current status: Not expected to return
Advantages: He’s not as good as Watson and over seven years older than the Houston star, but Stafford is good enough to get a team into the playoffs. He played on bad Detroit teams and has made an average of 25 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions over the past three seasons. It would be a major upgrade over Darnold.
Disadvantage: He turns 33 on February 7th, so the jets aren’t a particularly good fit. You have to think long term, not win now – and Stafford is a quarterback who wins now. Lions will seek at least one selection for the first round. The Jets have # 23 overall, but there’s no point in parting with that type of compensation for a quarterback closer to the end of his career than he is at the beginning.
Cap Impact: Stafford has a two-year contract for $ 43 million, none of which is guaranteed. (A roster bonus of $ 10 million is due March 21st.) He’ll likely get a new deal from the team that trades for him.
Abnormal status: It had the seventh-highest passerby rating (100.2) for pass attempts where the probability of completion (pass difficulty) was 25% to 50% according to NFL Next Gen Stats.