This is as pivotal an offseason as ever for the New York Jets, who have to make a decision at the quarterback position along with an impending head-coaching search once Adam Gase is shown the door.
Appearing on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, Adam Schefter admitted that the Jets’ decision under center involving the future of Sam Darnold and their No. 2 draft pick will be one of the league’s largest storylines.
“The biggest quarterback question of the offseason is the New York Jets and Sam Darnold. The Jets are going to make a trade,” Schefter said. “The question is, are they going to trade Sam Darnold or are they going to trade the No. 2 pick to a team that can go take the quarterback that they want? That will be the biggest offseason decision that any team makes.”
Darnold’s status with the Jets has been in jeopardy for a majority of a nightmarish 2020 season that saw severe regression in his game sparked by the ineptitude of Gase and the lack of legitimate talent within Gang Green’s offense.
The 23-year-old, who was taken No. 3 overall just three years ago out of USC, lost his first nine starts of an injury-spotted campaign before leading the Jets to two massive upsets in consecutive weeks over the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns.
Those triumphs spoiled the prospect of an 0-16 season that would have awarded them the No. 1 pick of the draft and a clear path to Clemson standout quarterback, Trevor Lawrence — considered to be the surest thing in a QB prospect since Andrew Luck in 2012.
The Jacksonville Jaguars now have the No. 1 pick, leaving the Jets the option of taking either Ohio State stud Justin Fields or BYU slinger Zach Wilson with the following selection, if they choose to move on from Darnold.
Whoever the Jets’ new head coach will be in 2021 will likely have a say in what general manager Joe Douglas ultimately decides to do. It would have been unlikely that a few solid starts from Darnold down the stretch would have saved his job if Lawrence was still an option.
But if the Jets are not entirely sold on either Fields or Wilson, the option of trading the No. 2 pick to stock up on the necessary draft capital to address multiple needs is on the table.
“This involves Sam Darnold, it involves Justin Fields, it involves Zach Wilson… this is a huge, monumental decision that shapes the offseason,” Schefter added.