Jets’ misguided Sam Darnold decision is catnip for Patriots
By Adam Weinrib
The Jets are probably sticking with Sam Darnold, which is good news for the Patriots for…so many reasons.
Just about a month ago, Patriots fans were terrified of the New York Jets for the first time in at least a decade, potentially ever.
After all, though their roster remained moribund and nearly devoid of talent, they had a soon-to-be juicy head coaching opening, paired with the No. 1 overall pick en route. That selection would’ve been used on franchise-changing QB Trevor Lawrence, a fait accompli, and everything would likely have snowballed from there.
Instead of starting their momentum and sneaking up behind New England, though, the Jets have, well, Jetted in the weeks since.
Lawrence is no more; that pick will go to Jacksonville. Adam Gase was predictably fired, and Robert Saleh hired in his stead, which means that New York will attempt to go defense first, something the Patriots have been doing well for decades.
Oh, and without the top selection in the draft, it seems like the Jets will be sticking with the struggling Sam Darnold and his ghost vision under center, opening up the QB options for New England in this year’s draft, too. Win-win!
Even as recently as a week ago, it was assumed the Jets would choose Ohio State’s Justin Fields with the No. 2 pick — before an injured Fields struggled to solve Alabama’s world-beating defense, a performance that shouldn’t have changed the opinion of, well, anyone.
If the Jets do intend to roll with Darnold under the new regime, it makes you wonder if they were even dead set on taking Lawrence first overall? Scary to think about. Absolute malfeasance there. But we digress.
That No. 2 pick suddenly becomes either a hot commodity or a chance for New York to upgrade far less interesting areas of need, like the offensive line. You’ll then see either one of the Patriots’ rivals in the QB market surrender a pile full of assets to select a lottery ticket in Fields or Zach Wilson, or the draft will just roll along as scheduled, with an additional QB option on the board at No. 3 and every selection beyond it.
Rest assured, the Patriots will be lurking at 15.
Additionally, 38 games of Darnold have been simply…not good! Whether the ramifications for the draft hold true or not, Patriots fans can sleep well knowing the Jets are about to make another one of their famous mistakes.
Perhaps Saleh’s forthcoming scheme will be a better fit. But Darnold has yet to make a discernible leap between any of his first three years, and quarterback whisperer Adam Gase did very little to alter that narrative.
If the Jets go with Darnold and don’t explore a fresh start, Patriots fans will be spending the offseason exhaling, no matter what snowballs from there.
And to think…it really could’ve been two decades of Trevor.