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Sam Darnold twisting within the wind after Jets’ about-face

As soon as upon a time, and never that way back, the cellphone would ring within the workplace of Jets basic supervisor Joe Douglas, and a GM from one other crew may provoke a dialog that might go one thing like this:

“Hey Joe, congrats on the brand new gig. … Uh, questioning if Sam Darnold may be out there (nervous snort).”

(Giggle) Click on.

Quick ahead to now:

“Hey Joe, we’re within the QB market, can we discuss Sam?”

“Certain can! We now have no untouchables on our crew, not after a 2-14 season. We nonetheless love Sam, make no mistake about that, however go forward, make me your finest supply, and we’ll see the place it goes.”

Sam Darnold, the would-be savior of the Jets three quick drafts in the past, is twisting within the wind lately, resigned and lowered to ready on Douglas to make his franchise-altering resolution on the quarterback resolution.

Douglas on Wednesday: “I’ll reply the decision if it’s made.”

It means Darnold is in a unique boat than three of his 2018 quarterback classmates. The Payments won’t reply the decision if it’s made on Josh Allen. The Browns won’t reply the decision if it’s made on Baker Mayfield. The Ravens won’t reply the decision if it’s made on Lamar Jackson. Darnold is within the boat with Josh Rosen.

“Our stance on Sam hasn’t modified,” Douglas mentioned.

Good strive, Joe.

Sure, it has.

“He’s a particularly gifted participant, he’s very sensible, very robust. … We now have little doubt that Sam is gonna obtain his excellent potential,” Douglas mentioned on Wednesday.

That’s GM-speak, in fact, designed to inflate his asset’s worth for would-be suitors. As a result of (wink, wink) that excellent potential might be achieved in a unique uniform.

“Clearly we’re within the strategy of gaining as a lot data as we are able to main up by means of free company and the draft, however our stance on Sam has not modified,” Douglas mentioned.

Sam Darnold's NFL future is unclear.
Sam Darnold’s NFL future is unclear.
Getty Photographs

Once more, GM-speak designed to maintain the poor child hopeful he can resuscitate his profession with the franchise that drafted him.

The NFL might be such a merciless enterprise. It was simply 11 months in the past, previous to the 2020 draft, when Douglas mentioned:

“After I first met Sam’s mother and father within the first preseason sport [August 2019], I promised them I used to be going to do every part in my energy to deal with Sam with safety and playmakers.”

Alas, even with left deal with Mekhi Becton, Sam required extra safety, and even with injury-ravaged broad receivers Denzel Mims and Breshad Perriman, he wanted extra playmakers (and fewer Adam Gase), and right here he’s now:

Questioning whether or not Douglas will use the second-overall choose on BYU’s Zach Wilson, or Ohio State’s Justin Fields, and reset the quarterback monetary clock, and commerce Darnold.

Questioning whether or not Douglas will enter the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes ought to the Texans cave and entertain his commerce wishes, and commerce him.

Questioning whether or not Douglas will commerce out of the second choose and construct round him together with his two first-rounders this 12 months and 6 of the highest 98 picks … to not point out a pair of first-rounders in 2022.

For Darnold, it should really feel like a nerve-racking sport of musical quarterbacks realizing solely that he received’t be left with out a chair, however possibly not the chair he prefers.

It appears a lifetime in the past that former GM Mike Maccagnan and his employees took Darnold out to dinner in Morristown per week earlier than the 2018 draft and left deflated as a result of they have been satisfied the Browns would use the first-overall choose on him.

It appears a lifetime in the past when then-coach Todd Bowles named Darnold the opening-night starter in Detroit and euphoric Jets followers started their “J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!” chant behind the Lions’ bench after the child shook off a pick-six on his first NFL cross and engineered a 48-17 victory. After which hugged his proud mother and father exterior the visiting locker room.

Lastly, the long-lost reply to Broadway Joe Namath.

These headlines:

Sam’s Membership.



Sam The Man.

Mononucleosis wasn’t going to cease him.

Gase was going to be his quarterback whisperer.

Nobody imagined he can be seeing ghosts on nationwide tv in opposition to Invoice Belichick.

Nobody imagined he would regress in his third season (9 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, head-scratching decision-making) and see his profession TD-INT ratio fall to 45-39, and his win-loss file to fall to 13-25.

Nothing provides a fan base extra hope than a younger franchise quarterback.

Sam Darnold was the Golden Boy.

He has no concept whether or not he nonetheless is.

Wilson’s Professional Day is March 26. Fields’ Professional Day is March 30. The Jets can be at each in drive.

Douglas’ cellphone can be ringing. The GM can be answering the decision.

As effectively he ought to.

If Douglas has the identical conviction on Wilson or Fields that Maccagnan had on Darnold, he ought to draft him.

Watson will value a boatload, however is value it, and Douglas has loads of draft capital, and $80 million in cap room.

March Insanity for Sam Darnold. And possibly past.