Joe knows what he has

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What to make of this announcement:

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport announced on Monday: “The Jets are planning to complete their evaluations of the top QBs in the NFL Draft before making any decisions on Sam Darnold, sources say. That includes Pro Days and interviews. While they’ve received real interest in Darnold, they want to get the full QB picture first.”

That’s all fine and dandy, but Joe Douglas already knows what he has in Sam Darnold. There is no gray area with the Jets’ football czar related to this player. He doesn’t need to watch anymore film.

Darnold’ future, and whether they trade him, comes down to a few things.

First of all, it’s becoming pretty clear that it’s going to be hard for the Jets to get a first round pick for Darnold.

Adam Schefter recently announced:

“I headed into the offseason thinking they would get a second-round pick and maybe something else for him. I thought that would be his value if they decided to trade him. I think with all the movement going on, I think with what Matthew Stafford went for, I think his value, again if they trade him, will be some sort of late one. That’s my sense and belief.”

Schefter breaks more stories than any NFL insider, there is no doubt. He’s very plugged in, but this statement from him was more of an opinion than a scoop. It’s important to make the differentiation. He was answering a question on a radio show.

Stafford is better and more established than Darnold, so what Detroit got from the Rams for him might not apply to what the Jets can get for Darnold.

In exchange for Stafford, Detroit got QB Jared Goff, a 2021 third-round pick and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023.

But remember, the Lions took on Goff’s profligate contract, and their willingness to do that, added to the draft pick haul they got.

If the Jets were offered a first round pick today for Darnold, I think they would make the trade, regardless of their college QB evaluation process.

But what team is giving them a first-round pick? Right now, it’s hard to see where that would come from, especially after the Eagles trade of Carson Wentz to Indianapolis, which didn’t land Philly a first-round pick (for now – it could based on certain criteria).

However, if they get low-balled for Darnold, they might keep him, and see if Matt LaFleur’s QB-friendly offense can help him play better.

This isn’t about improving the weapons or O-Line as some fans and reporters will lead you to believe, but more a system that some believe can help him play better.

“Shanahan’s system, the stretch bootleg system, creates a lot of easy opportunities for the quarterback,” said former NFL scout Bucky Brooks of NFL Network. “You just need to be mobile enough to get to the edge of the tackle box on the bootleg. If you can do that, you can play in this system, and with all the play-action, they make it easy.”

So the bottom line is they aren’t going to give Darnold away for a low draft pick. Douglas showed during the Jamal Adams soap opera last off-season that he’s very patient, and a very good poker player, and willing to wait to get what he wants.

But I can assure you of one thing – he doesn’t need anymore time to evaluate Darnold. The evaluation is done.

February 23, 2021

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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