By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com
The Jets confirmed late Monday afternoon what the overwhelming majority believed would happen soon — Sam Darnold is an ex-Jet.
Did you cheer or did you gasp?
Darnold was dealt for a nice three-pick package to Carolina, a sixth-rounder in the upcoming draft and second- and fourth-round pick in 2022.
But the focus shifts to GM Joe Douglas. Darnold has escaped from New York and can make a fresh start.
His 13-25 record, 45 touchdown-39 interception slate becomes officially entered as another Jets’ quarterback who wasn’t the second coming of Joe Namath.
Ironically, Darnold is back in competition with Teddy Bridgewater, who Darnold battled as a rookie in 2018 before Bridgewater was dealt to the Saints.
Now, Bridgewater is being mentioned in a possible trade back to New Orleans as Drew Brees’ replacement.
It’s a small world. This scenario involving all three of them can get pretty murky.
It can get smaller for Jets’ GM Joe Douglas and bigger for Darnold.
This is now about In Douglas We Trust.
With a stockpile of picks, Douglas is taking the gamble of drafting either BYU’s Zack Wilson or Ohio State’s Justin Fields as the team’s next franchise quarterback.
Darnold is gone as an insurance policy I thought he might be for a year while either Wilson or Fields learn the system. That theory about Darnold was gaining momentum until today.
Now, Douglas has to get it right. In Douglas’s defense, the Jets have shifted from a mild restructure to a total rebuild.
He has given the new quarterback some support through free agency, providing two new reliable wide receivers (Corey Davis and Keelan Cole) as a well as a running back (Tevin Coleman).
There has been some momentum rising toward Fields being the No. 2 pick, but a betting man would put his money on Wilson.
Douglas also must find a dependable veteran backup quarterback. How about ex-49 and recent Buc and Super Bowl champion Blaine Gabbert?
Or Bridgewater? His three-year, $63 million contract would be in the way. Do you want a remake of 42-year-old Josh McCown?
There are still some veterans out there that can be scoured through.
As for Darnold, he is getting the fresh start he believed he would have with new Jets’ head coach Robert Saleh. If Bridgewater is dealt as expected, let’s see what Darnold can do.
Or will he dealt to wither Washington or New England? Was this a way for Bill Belichick to skirt the Jets to get Darnold?
Darnold soon will be forgotten, and Douglas enters the spotlight, especially on draft day when the pick of Trevor Lawrence is a forgone conclusion.
The hype has started, and you can hear the ticks of the draft clock in your head.
It will be the same hype that happened in 2017 when the “Suck for Sam” clamors rose for the Jets who they believed drafted “the best quarterback” with the third overall pick in the 2018 draft.
This time around, it has to be the quarterback who lasts more than three years.