However, on Wednesday, general manager Joe Douglas may have tipped his hand a little when discussing said trade rumors.
When asked by reporters if he would listen to trade calls about Darnold, Douglas said that he “will answer the call if it’s made.” This is notably a change in mindset from a year ago.
A little over a year ago, Douglas remarked that Darnold was “untouchable” insisting that he was the team’s franchise quarterback. Now, some 18 months later, Douglas has changed his stance.
He no longer sees Darnold as “untouchable.” The writing seems to be on the wall.
The NY Jets will explore Sam Darnold’s trade market this offseason
Teams have already been calling the Jets for quite some time now to inquire about Darnold’s availability, per various reports. The Jets, to their credit, have remained stoic in their stance.
They don’t plan to trade Darnold until their evaluation of the top quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft is complete. That includes attending their pro days among other things.
And given that Ohio State’s pro day isn’t until March 31st, it seems as though the Jets will have to wait until April to complete their evaluation of Justin Fields. That means any Darnold trade probably won’t occur until April at the earliest.
Ideally, the Jets would have their quarterback situation resolved prior to the start of free agency in two week’s time. Unfortunately, given the unorthodox nature of this year’s draft cycle, that just doesn’t seem plausible.
The Jets want to meet their potential quarterback of the future in person before making any rash decisions. Thus, they’ll have to play the waiting game for now.
With that said, it does appear as though Darnold is on borrowed time in New York. In a near-universally praised quarterback class, it’s hard to imagine the Jets won’t come away with the impression that any of Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, or Trey Lance are better options than Darnold.
Given his soon-to-expire rookie contract, it just doesn’t make logistical sense to stick with Darnold if you’re in the situation the Jets are in. Having the No. 2 pick in a stacked quarterback class isn’t an opportunity that comes around very often.
And Douglas’ apparent change in mindset doesn’t bode well for Darnold’s future in New York.