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

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

“Hey Joe, congrats on the information gig. … Uh, questioning if Sam Darnold is likely to be out there (nervous chortle).”

(Snigger) Click on.

Quick ahead to now:

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

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

Sam Darnold, the would-be savior of the Jets three brief drafts in the past, is twisting within the wind nowadays, resigned and decreased to ready on Douglas to make his franchise-altering choice on the quarterback choice.

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

It means Darnold is in a distinct 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. … Now we 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 distinct uniform.

“Clearly we’re within the means 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 dad and mom within the first preseason recreation [August 2019], I promised them I used to be going to do all the things in my energy to care for Sam with safety and playmakers.”

Alas, even with left deal with Mekhi Becton, Sam required extra safety, and even with injury-ravaged large 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 along with his two first-rounders this yr 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 recreation of musical quarterbacks realizing solely that he received’t be left with out a chair, however perhaps not the chair he prefers.

It appears a lifetime in the past that former GM Mike Maccagnan and his workers took Darnold out to dinner in Morristown every week earlier than the 2018 draft and left deflated as a result of they had 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 time 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 dad and mom outdoors the visiting locker room.

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

These headlines:

Sam’s Membership.

Samsational.

Samazing.

Sam The Man.

Mononucleosis wasn’t going to cease him.

Gase was going to be his quarterback whisperer.

Nobody imagined he could be seeing ghosts on nationwide tv towards 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 to fall to 45-39, and his win-loss file to fall to 13-25.

Nothing offers 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 will likely be at each in power.

Douglas’ telephone will likely be ringing. The GM will likely be answering the decision.

As properly 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 price 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 perhaps past.