NY Jets: Robert Saleh non-committal about Sam Darnold’s future

NY Jets, Robert Saleh (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Robert Saleh (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

NY Jets newly-appointed head coach Robert Saleh was essentially non-committal regarding incumbent quarterback Sam Darnold’s future with the organization. Despite many positive words of praise for Darnold, he did not actually say anything positive about his quarterback’s future.

To be fair, neither did he say anything negative. But it doesn’t take much to read between the lines on this one.

Saleh was asked what he thought about Darnold. His answers were what is to be expected: all praise. Darnold, Saleh said, is tough as nails, reputation in the locker room unquestioned, great arm talent, fearless in the pocket, intelligent, mobile.

Arguably, the only undoubtedly true things there are that Darnold is intelligent and mobile.

Robert Saleh was non-committal about Sam Darnold’s future with the NY Jets

A player that has missed significant time in each of his three seasons cannot necessarily be considered “tough as nails”. Darnold is anything but fearless in the pocket. There have also been many questions about his arm talent and ability to throw downfield or throw accurately at all.

The Jets have a lot of decisions to make in the offseason, and Darnold may be the biggest one. What the organization decides to do with him will affect free agency, the draft, and their roster going forward.

When Saleh was asked about the direction the organization would take, he claimed it was “too early” to know and unfair to answer the question at this juncture.

That says it all.

An obviously gifted leader sending out somewhat vague and possibly false platitudes about his inherited quarterback, and immediately following that with a flat refusal to commit to him in even the slightest way.

Many NY Jets fans will point to the words themselves and try to convince everyone that Robert Saleh is on board with Sam Darnold as the quarterback.

Do not let them convince you.

Saleh, in a nutshell, said “I’m new here, I haven’t seen much of Sam and I know he’s talented because he was drafted third overall, but I can in no way commit to giving him a further opportunity”.

That should be the takeaway here, not the obvious attempt to play nice.

Saleh’s answers reek of coach-speak — that amazing and politically correct way of saying something nice without really saying anything at all.

There is a very good chance that the Jets look to trade Sam Darnold in the offseason, and having the new coach come in and say nice things about him can only enhance the beleaguered quarterback’s trade value.

But make no mistake — the Jets are going to explore every possibility to fill the quarterback position. Darnold will be evaluated, but it sounds like the organization is perfectly willing to go in another direction if need be.

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As well it should.