When it comes to quarterback Sam Darnold, unfortunately for him, the New York Jets are talking out of both sides of their mouth. As the team readies for the 2021 NFL free agency spree with a ton of spending power, the question surrounding the future of Darnold looms large and, publicly, the team is both committing to his potential as a starter in the league while simultaneously having a willingness to entertain shipping him off to another franchise in exchange for assets. That duplicitous stance didn't change when general manager Joe Douglas addressed media on Wednesday, but instead it was thickened.
"With Sam, our stance on Sam hasn't changed," Douglas said, via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. "He's an extremely talented player. Very smart, very tough. We have no doubt he's going to achieve his outstanding potential."
That should give Darnold at least some feeling of security, or at least you would think, but Douglas didn't stop there. In the same breath, Douglas admits the team "will answer the call" when/if other clubs reach out to them with an offer for the former third-overall pick, and that they have "no real timeline" on when they'll make a decision on if he'll be in a Jets uniform in 2021.
This will undoubtedly add credence to reports that the Jets are first attempting to complete a thorough assessment of the incoming QB class before they pull the trigger on trading Darnold, if that's the be the final outcome of all of this.
With the No. 2-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft in hand, there are plenty of ways the Jets can go at quarterback, and one doesn't involve the draft whatsoever, unless you're talking about the picks it would take to pry Deshaun Watson away from the defiant Houston Texans. It's been alleged the Jets are a top potential landing spot on Watson's wish list, and with both he and Darnold expected to suit up for new teams come September, it'll be interesting to see if swapping seats is feasible. That, of course, is just one potential scenario of many that include Darnold possibly staying put in New York -- a talking point presented to newly-hired head coach Robert Saleh during the interview process.
All signs point to that not being the case, though. It seems all it would take is a reasonable offer, because Douglas is all ears.