Eras end, some sooner than others, And that seems to be the case with the New York Jets and their once franchise quarterback, Sam Darnold.
The Darnold era began at the 2018 NFL draft when the player many thought was the best quarterback available, fell into the Jets’ laps. The scouting reports rated him ahead of Josh Rosen and Josh Allen and better than, gulp, Lamar Jackson. Darnold was the No. 3 pick, after Cleveland went for Baker Mayfield and the Giants took Saquon Barkley.
Euphoria swallowed up the Jets, They had their man. They were set at football’s most important position. The playoff drought was about to end.
Darnold has not been the savior. He has struggled in his three seasons, dragged down by questionable coaching, a mediocre cast around him and a string of injuries including, of all things, mononucleosis.
He is mired in the middle of a winless season that, if it continues, will deliver the No. 1 draft choice. And there, just waiting to be picked, is another quarterback. Trevor Lawrence is considered a generational prospect, glittering like a shiny new penny. The Jets have pulled some strange stunts over the years but it is unlikely that they would pass up Trevor Lawrence.
And that means au revoir to Darnold and his era.
The bottom line for a quarterback is touchdowns and in his four games through October and November, Darnold did not have any of those commodities. You’d think he’d have one by accident. Darnold, however, had none. He did, however, produce four interceptions.
Through the Jets’ first 12 winless games this season, Darnold has thrown for five touchdowns – two of them in the latest loss on Sunday — and nine interceptions.
This is not good, This is era-ending stuff.
In 33 games with the Jets, Darnold is 11-23 with a completion percentage of 59.7 and a quarterback rating of 77. Those are not great numbers. Those are get-out-of-town numbers.
Jets coach Adam Gase, who is tip-toeing over some very thin ice himself, expressed confidence in Darnold and will stick with the young quarterback. The likelihood, however, is that Gase will be gone at season’s end and with Trevor Lawrence in the waiting room, Darnold will be leaving, too.
This will be nothing new, Since 2000, the Jets have had nine different starting quarterbacks including, for one year, Hall of Famer Brett Favre, who stopped by on his way to Canton, Ohio. Darnold might wind up there some day, too. Just not as a Jet.
Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire