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Rich Cimini ESPN Staff Writer

2. Darnold in limbo: Because they have a new coach in Robert Saleh, the Jets are allowed to start their offseason workout program on April 5, two weeks earlier than teams with returning coaches. It might be a bit awkward if Darnold's status remains unsettled.

Free Agency is just 1 week from today, when the Jets can begin to legally tamper with prospective free agents on March 15th.

Jets are exactly 4 weeks away from starting their offseason workout program on April 5.

The 2021 NFL Draft is 7 weeks and 3 days away from starting on April 29.

I can't see the Jets holding onto Darnold until April 5th if they are truly going in another direction at quarterback. With that said, if Sam Darnold is still on the Jets come April 5th I'm leaning towards the Jets keeping Darnold to compete for the starting job in 2021, which could mean Joe Douglas doesn't believe and/or nobody in his scouting department could convince him enough to use the 2nd overall pick on a quarterback in this draft that isn't named Trevor Lawrence. A trade down seems likely if the opportunity presents itself for a chance to stockpile more draft capital now and in the coming drafts, which gives Joe Douglas more bricks to build this Jets team into his vision of a great team that is a consistent winner.

We're coming up on the 3 year anniversary of Mike Maccagnan's St. Patrick's Day trade that moved the Jets from the 6th pick to the 3rd pick in the 2018 Draft by giving the Colts three 2nd round picks. Seems just like yesterday we all were excited about having a shot at getting a franchise quarterback in that 2018 draft. Heading into this draft I'm just as excited, but I feel like we've got the leverage this time around.

 

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Another nugget I got from Rich Cimini's most recent article:

 

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Say it ain't so, Joe: Pray it's posturing.

Douglas' midweek comments to the media, taken at face value, suggest he will have no interest in trading for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. The GM gave every impression he won't break the lock on his treasure chest of draft picks until it's time to draft.

Wrong approach.

Douglas needs to keep an open mind and be prepared to strike aggressively if Watson is made available. With four first-round picks in 2021 and 2022, the Jets have more ammunition than any team. It would be GM malpractice if Douglas doesn't make a blockbuster offer; it would be a nightmare if Watson winds up with the Miami Dolphins.

Unable to comment on Watson because he's under contract to Houston, Douglas was asked a general question about trading significant draft capital for one player.

"Ultimately for us to get to where the great teams are, the most consistent teams are, you do that through the draft," he said. "It's the most team-friendly market in sports. For us to really be that team that's consistently competing for Super Bowls, we have to hit on our draft picks."

You'd like to believe this was GM-speak, that Douglas didn't want to give the impression he's jonesing for Watson -- totally understandable. Thing is, I've heard the same sentiment in league circles: Douglas wants to stick to his rebuilding plan. He learned under former Baltimore Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, who believed in building through the draft.

The Ravens' GM from 1996 to 2018, Newsome never traded a first-round pick for a veteran player, according to research by ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley. In 2004, he traded a second-rounder for 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens, but the deal was rescinded because Owens refused to report. There were four instances in which he dealt a third-round pick for a veteran.

Food for thought.

 

Just an outstanding article by Rich Cimini chock-full with good info.

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Great post Spermy.

I think some of us (like me) will have to come to terms with the fact that the Jets are almost assuredly going to draft Wilson.

I think he's going to fail.

But I guess I have to start hoping I am wrong (yet again).

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He'll be gone the first week of April after the 4 college pro-days are done. 

They just really want to spend some time with Wilson, see him close up, meet him etc...

Once they check that box they'll move Sam very quickly.

There's likely a deal already on the table.

So, just before the April 5th date Sam will be gone.

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3 minutes ago, Lith said:

The more I see comments like this, the more I wonder if I have any clue what I am watching.   When I watched Sam this past season, even when he had time & open receivers, I saw a guy who was inaccurate, made poor decisions, lacked pocket presence, poor footwork, had no idea where rush was coming from.  All things within his control. 

I have no doubt that his performance was impacted by poor coaching and surrounding cast in his first three seasons.  To me, the question at this point is not why he was so bad for 3 years, it is can he be fixed and are we better off with trying to break Sam of three years of bad habits, or trying to re-set with a roookie on a new deal.  If it was up to me, I am taking the rookie.  But then again, I probably have no clue what I am watching, so what the heck do I know.

Agreed.  I had high hopes for Sam, he’s unfortunately a victim of a franchise that had zero plans on how to develop him and support him.   The damage is done and if I am JD, who had nothing to do with drafting Sam, I am not interested in putting my career on the line for a Sam Darnold reclamation project.  Not when there are some other very viable options in the draft this year.  

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1 hour ago, Sperm Edwards said:

 

Sperm, if you promise to always used bullets (*) or #'s in your posts from now on then I'll promise to read them :) 

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5 hours ago, T0mShane said:

Mike Maccagnan was the worst GM in the history of sport.
 

cc: @Pac

 

I used to rate Idzik lower but I now think Mac was worse. At least Idzik had a plan, unfortunately he lacked the expertise to carry it out. Mac had no plan he just sucked.

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Just now, JetsFanatic said:

I used to rate Idzik lower but I now think Mac was worse. At least Idzik had a plan, unfortunately he lacked the expertise to carry it out. Mac had no plan he just sucked.

 

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3 hours ago, Sperm Edwards said:

Of course he's in limbo. That's hardly inappropriate if one looks at the situation objectively instead of as someone who specifically wants it to be Darnold for emotional reasons.

  1. letdown rookie season
  2. letdown second season
  3. letdown third season
  4. lots of film - and don't think Douglas hasn't seen it - of Darnold repeatedly making a poor situation look much worse by his play
  5. the Gase excuse is real, but as much as that's the case with Tannehill getting much better away from Gase, people see that Tannehill wasn't nearly this bad under Gase and that he didn't have nearly as poor results until Darnold was his QB (even getting Luke Falk to complete 80% of his passes against a top 10 defense - in relief - for a week).
  6. just saying "weapons" is a weak argument; some GMs might buy it, but many/most won't since they expect success in the face of adversity, not for a player (especially a QB) to succumb to it with such regularity. 
  7. biggest NFL moment(s) = a 3-game stretch when the team scored 34 ppg wins a couple years ago. Of course, each of them came against embarrassingly-bad defenses. They were preceded by 2 garbage games against awful defenses (Jax + Miami) and another horrible game against another terrible defense (Cin), with the Jets losing all 3. 
  8. has missed multiple games per season each year so far
  9. seeing a moderately-priced castoff return to success when he was returned to catching passes from a just-ok starter (McCown, Bridgewater), after struggling in the Petty-Darnold-Falk games in between.
  10. has just 1 year left on his rookie deal; hasn't played nearly well enough to exercise his 5th year option at some $25MM, leaving only a franchise tag next year as the basis for an extension beyond 2021
  11. the bad team situation has left some hope not just among Jets fans, but also among those who once thought he was going to be all that coming out of USC: he still has trade value
  12. Jets have the #2 overall pick in a draft with a single QB more or less locked into the #2 overall pick by most "professional" evaluators, with a perceived drop-off after him. Certainly not everyone agrees, and whether it plays out that way in the future, time will tell, but that's the dominant perception.
  13. Whatever the perception of who's the best or next-best in the Jets' slot, it's undeniable they'd have their pick of 3-4 QBs all with 1st round (if not upper 1st round) grades. Doubtful that all of them will flop as poorly as Darnold. If any succeed, and the Jets fail again with Darnold, there's bigger reason for regret since Darnold is not a clean slate and those guys are.
  14. Above with the knowledge that you can't just get as good of a prospect on demand a year later if you go with Darnold for 1 more season. He could still be meh but the team carries him en route to a .500 record (maybe better) like in 2013, where we still need an upgrade but now we're picking outside the top 15; it may require trading both 1st round picks and more to move up next year to get one they like as much, if that's even possible; and are further without the extra pick that'd have been provided by trading Darnold while they could. 
  15. Plenty of draft picks and cap room to build around anybody else (yes they should have done a better job in this regard with Darnold, too, but they didn't). 
  16. ...I'll stop here. For now, lol.

Weighed against dumping him now:

  1. what if Darnold is actually really good, and is the extreme case of a really good QB who masquerades as a really bad one, for this many games/seasons, because of a poor situation plus he needed more time to grow than expected.
  2. plus it robs the team of the #2 pick (or trading down from #2) overall - instead merely giving up the hope of a 2nd round pick for Darnold - to build around him or around the next guy a year later who'd theoretically/hopefully walk into a nicer situation.

Also the possibility they do neither:

  1. trade Darnold
  2. trade down from #2
  3. go with a stopgap veteran plus take a shot on a QB outside the top 4-5 prospects at far less investment

Great post Sperm. 
I’m not sure what direction the Jets are going in. They may not even know yet. However the options are not all blue skies. 
I don’t think JD will dump a bunch of top DPs for Watson. Just goes against his philosophy of building through the draft.

Dak is out. He wants too much money and if JJ won’t pay him why would the Jets. 
Getting a QB through the draft is a crap shoot. I was never a Suk for Sam guy. I actually liked Josh Allen for his raw talent and cannon arm but that’s yesterday’s mail. Not sure if any of the QBs in that draft would have excelled to greatness considering the coaching and personnel.
I know Sam has not made the moves we all wanted him to make in year 3 but man that whole team and coaching was so disfunctional. Would another QB rise above the Gase offensive scheme and our OL issues? Unknown. One thing is for sure. Gase didn’t help Sam one bit in making him better. He looked lost and played crappy in Gases offense. He’s regressed no doubt. The question is can he be resurrected. And does the new regime think they can remake him. 
I think Salah and Lafleur will hold a lot of weight in the keep or dump Sam conversation. 
 

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3 hours ago, JetsFanatic said:

I used to rate Idzik below Mac. However I actually now think Mac was worse. At least Idzik had a plan, unfortunately he lacked the expertise to carry it out. Mac had no plan he just sucked.

 

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3 hours ago, FidelioJet said:

He'll be gone the first week of April after the 4 college pro-days are done. 

They just really want to spend some time with Wilson, see him close up, meet him etc...

Once they check that box they'll move Sam very quickly.

There's likely a deal already on the table.

So, just before the April 5th date Sam will be gone.

I've read this a few times on here and I just don't buy it.

They know what they have in Sam, they have spoken to the prospects over zoom and have done their homework with their scouts and watched the tape so unless wilson or fields are rolled out in a wheelchair for their pro days the jets have made their decision.

I'd guess they are keeping sam and prolonging the situation to give the impression they really like Wilson or one of the other prospects to receive as much from a trade down as possible.

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30 minutes ago, Adobolo said:

I've read this a few times on here and I just don't buy it.

They know what they have in Sam, they have spoken to the prospects over zoom and have done their homework with their scouts and watched the tape so unless wilson or fields are rolled out in a wheelchair for their pro days the jets have made their decision.

I'd guess they are keeping sam and prolonging the situation to give the impression they really like Wilson or one of the other prospects to receive as much from a trade down as possible.

Sam is gone.  There is close to no chance he's is coming back.  He was never coming back...

This isn't a head game with other GM's kinda thing - JD likely realizes what a huge decision this is and just want to dot all the I's and cross all the T's.  See the kid in person.  The entire league knows he trading Sam.  

I'm sure he has multiple offers on the table, they aren't going anywhere.  Maybe he loses one of them...

The first week of April Sam will be traded.  Small possibility it can happen sooner if someone blows him away with an but unlikely.  After he spent some time with Wilson and all checks out - he'll take the best offer and move on.

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17 minutes ago, FidelioJet said:

Sam is gone.  There is close to no chance he's is coming back.  He was never coming back...

This isn't a head game with other GM's kinda thing - JD likely realizes what a huge decision this is and just want to dot all the I's and cross all the T's.  See the kid in person.  The entire league knows he trading Sam.  

I'm sure he has multiple offers on the table, they aren't going anywhere.  Maybe he loses one of them...

The first week of April Sam will be traded.  Small possibility it can happen sooner if someone blows him away with an but unlikely.  After he spent some time with Wilson and all checks out - he'll take the best offer and move on.

If sam is gone then why is he still on the jets roster, Im not trying to be smart I mean why has he not been traded already? If Joe has to cross the Ts and dot the I and just make sure Wilson is better by seeing him in person then there is no guarantee Sam is gone.

Joe may be waiting for a team to get desperate after free agency or the draft but the longer Sam is not traded to more likely he is a Jet next season. It's just my opinion and the more I hear joe say he wants to build though the draft and the TV analysis promote Sam daily I feel we will go again with sam and build using as many extra picks we can get, something similar to what the 49ers did in 2017.

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5 hours ago, Sperm Edwards said:

Of course he's in limbo. That's hardly inappropriate if one looks at the situation objectively instead of as someone who specifically wants it to be Darnold for emotional reasons.

Darnold - The Bimbo in Limbo

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5 minutes ago, slats said:

 

It’s been a pretty relaxing offseason for me so far because I really don’t have a firm opinion on what I think the Jets should do. It’s a huge decision for Joe Douglas, one he’d really, really like to be right about.
 
I think either of you could be right. I think it’s still in flux, and JD could be convinced to go either way if presented with a strong enough case one way or the other. It all hinges on their evaluation of Wilson (or maybe a QB they like better) vs. Sam. If they love a QB in the draft, they should take him, and I think they would. 
 
Question is whether they love one enough to take a chance on him. That’s why I lean toward Darnold staying. Not because they have him rated higher than a QB they could draft, just that they aren’t entirely confident in that prospect - and sticking with Sam is basically just punting the decision another year while acquiring a ****ton of additional draft capital this year and next, with the outside chance that Darnold turns it around. It’s the safe move for the program short term, however unpalatable that may be to some. 

I do understand the thought process for sure.

But I truly believe there was virtually no circumstance in which the Jets were ever keeping Sam.  When looking at the risk assessment of both options - IMOm, keeping Sam carries far more risk.

There are plenty of reasons why it's the better option - but when push comes to shoves - As much as people don't want to think it's true, the reality is job security will eventually come into play and if they keep Sam JD has a very small window to win - with a rookie the clock starts over.  

Last year JD cleaned house, this year the rebuild starts.  It's tough to start a rebuild with a 4th year QB that's been the worst QB in the league for the past 3 years - that you might have to franchise tag next year.

Now, if they really have their highest ranked potential draft pick far below Sam that might change but there are pretty high grades on 4 of these QB's.

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6 hours ago, T0mShane said:

Mike Maccagnan was the worst GM in the history of sport.
 

cc: @Pac

Isiah Thomas of the Knicks disagrees with you (and fondles the buttocks of a passing female employee just because ...)

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1 hour ago, Adobolo said:

If sam is gone then why is he still on the jets roster, Im not trying to be smart I mean why has he not been traded already? If Joe has to cross the Ts and dot the I and just make sure Wilson is better by seeing him in person then there is no guarantee Sam is gone.

Joe may be waiting for a team to get desperate after free agency or the draft but the longer Sam is not traded to more likely he is a Jet next season. It's just my opinion and the more I hear joe say he wants to build though the draft and the TV analysis promote Sam daily I feel we will go again with sam and build using as many extra picks we can get, something similar to what the 49ers did in 2017.

I'm not going to argue with your opinion and you're certainly welcome to it, but Sam is gone.  

 

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I would be alot more inclined to keep sam if he was average...the guy was literally the worst qb in NFL last year and we hold our head on him having one highlight a game. Even if he doubles his production he will be the #16 QB in the NFL. Are we really passing on a prospect when we sit #2 for a guy with the potential to be middle of the pack 

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18 hours ago, JetsFanatic said:

 

I used to rate Idzik lower but I now think Mac was worse. At least Idzik had a plan, unfortunately he lacked the expertise to carry it out. Mac had no plan he just sucked.

Idzik is Ozzie newsome compared to McCagnen

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13 hours ago, FidelioJet said:

I do understand the thought process for sure.

But I truly believe there was virtually no circumstance in which the Jets were ever keeping Sam.  When looking at the risk assessment of both options - IMOm, keeping Sam carries far more risk.

There are plenty of reasons why it's the better option - but when push comes to shoves - As much as people don't want to think it's true, the reality is job security will eventually come into play and if they keep Sam JD has a very small window to win - with a rookie the clock starts over.  

Last year JD cleaned house, this year the rebuild starts.  It's tough to start a rebuild with a 4th year QB that's been the worst QB in the league for the past 3 years - that you might have to franchise tag next year.

Now, if they really have their highest ranked potential draft pick far below Sam that might change but there are pretty high grades on 4 of these QB's.

I agree with much of your logic here, but I don't think going with Sam one more year carries more risk, nor do I think it creates a smaller window to win. All it does is punt the QB decision for another year while putting the bulk of their assets (particularly the proceeds from that #2 pick) into building the rest of the team. 

Now again, this is only if they don't love Wilson or one of the other QBs. Because I think if that's the case, taking one anyway is the biggest risk. Yes, it resets the clock, as you say, but if it's just another Sanchez/Geno/Darnold clock, when does it run out? 

If Darnold plays well enough for the team to want to franchise him, that's a pretty good problem to have. If he doesn't, hopefully you've improved the rest of the team and the coaching to the point where you can pinpoint the QB as the problem then and move on. Trading out of the #2 this year and adding another #1 in 2022 puts them in very good position for adding a new QB next year (adding a year to that reset clock). If Darnold goes nowhere, the Jets pick will probably be top ten again and they'll have two first rounders on top of that. 

As I've been saying all along, it comes down to their evaluations of the QBs in the draft vs. Darnold, and I believe the reports that there are a lot of league executives that believe Darnold can still be good. I get that this is probably the last year that he has any trade value, so that will be a factor, too. I just don't think it's nearly as cut and dried as you do, especially when your target is a small school junior QB who's had just one big year against pretty questionable competition. 

 

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