Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

In the end, Darnold, not the Jets, will have figured it out

Movin’ on ...
Movin’ on ...
Image: Getty Images

The New York Jets won’t be, can’t be, right about this in the end.

After all, when it comes to getting it right in the NFL, this sad-sack organization never does.

Advertisement

Hence, on Monday, the Jets dumped their latest franchise quarterback of the future, sending Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for draft picks for the future — a sixth-round pick in the upcoming draft, a 2022 second-round draft pick and a 2022 fourth-round draft pick, according to ESPN.

Yes, the Darnold era is over in Jetland.

In reality, it never really got started.

The Jets went from bad to worse from the minute Darnold arrived from USC, with the team hoping he would finally solidify the QB spot for the next decade.

But it didn’t happen.

Darnold, now 23, didn’t play well.

In three seasons in NYC, Darnold went 13-25 as a starter. He had 45 TDs and 39 INTs. Worse, he completed just 60 percent of his passes. In 2020, he finished with the lowest passer rating in the league at 72.7.

And to be fair, Darnold was plagued by injuries and illnesses during his Jet run, including mono in 2019.

But it wasn’t all his fault. The Jets, as a whole, were terrible.

The Jets’ front office was brutal, not surrounding Darnold with enough weapons to succeed. Even when they signed star running back Le’Veon Bell in free agency, they misused him and then released him.

Advertisement

And probably the worst part of Darnold’s New York experience was that Adam Gase was his coach.

Gase, Darnold’s second coach in his three years there, was hired to get Darnold righted. It was an epic fail.

Advertisement

And this isn’t to make excuses for Darnold. But the coach matters, especially in football. Take a look at the Rams and Jared Goff. It was a prime example.

Under coach Jeff Fisher, Goff looked like bust his first season. He was a wreck, terrible. In his rookie season, he started seven games and had five touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Advertisement

The Rays dumped Fisher, who was never an offensive coach, and grabbed Sean McVay.

It helped Goff tremendously. The next season, he has 28 TDs and seven INTs. In 2018, Goff was a Pro Bowler for a second straight season and led the Rams high-powered offense to the Super Bowl.

Advertisement

Gase, who somehow was known as a QB whisperer, didn’t do Ryan Tannehill any favors in Miami. Tanny was bad. Now, he is a driving force for the Tennessee Titans. In 2019, Tannehill set a Titans record with the highest passer rating in a season (117.5). And in two seasons there, he has 55 TDs and just 13 INTs.

Darnold, who will replace Teddy Bridgewater, will have a real chance to prove he can play in Carolina. They want him and that organization isn’t as screwed.

Advertisement

The Jets, on the other hand, are simply taking the easy way out. They will go get their shiny new toy in the draft. It will give the GM Joe Douglas — who didn’t draft Darnold — and new coach Robert Saleh breathing room and job security as they preach patience with a new quarterback to develop.

As for the fan base, it’s another four years of kicking the can down the road and giving them false hope that the Jets will once again be relevant and eventually have a shot to not only get to their first Super Bowl since 1969 — yes, that’s not a typo — but finally win again and be the last team standing in the NFL in February.

Advertisement

All indications are that the Jets will select Darnold’s replacement with the overall No. 2 pick in the April 29th in Cleveland. It looks to be BYU’s Zach Wilson.

And before Jets fans run out to jump on the Wilson bandwagon, understand the Jets’ QB problem wasn’t just a Darnold problem. In fact, in the last decade, Jets’ QBs have thrown for the least TDs and the passing yards, according to ESPN stats.

Advertisement

It’s that fact that makes you have to believe the Jets won’t get it right. It’s just not what they do.