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Jets rumors: Team seemingly uncommitted to QB Sam Darnold

Dec 27, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) talks with teammates during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York Jets rumors this coming spring will focus heavily on the quarterback position. Sure getting a new head coach to replace the recently-fired Adam Gase is the first order of business for general manager Joe Douglas. However, he’s also going to have to address the most-important position on the football field.

Douglas gave his season-ending press conference recently after his Jets finished up shop on a disastrous two-win campaign. In the presser, the Jets’ front office head addressed the Sam Darnold situation.

Related: Jets’ offseason preview

Jets rumors: Team seemingly uncommitted to QB Sam Darnold

Jets rumors: Some NFL team could still view same Darnold as one of the top young NFL quarterbacks.
Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) walks alone on the sidelines during the second half of their loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

“I think Sam has a very bright future in this league,” Douglas said, via ESPN. “We’re going to get a head coach in here, we’re going to get together and we’re going to talk about quite a few decisions. I’m excited about Sam.”

If New York had acquired the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Darnold situation wouldn’t even be up for discussion. Trevor Lawrence would have been the Jets’ starting quarterback Week 1 of next season.

But after winning two consecutive games at the end of the season, these Jets yielded that pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and with it, an opportunity to land Lawrence. Jets rumors have since focused on the possibility that they could decide to retain Darnold or trade out of the second selection.

Related: Jets trade down options in 2021 NFL Draft

Jets rumors: How will the quarterback room look in 2021?

Jets rumors: Could Zach Wilson be an option?
Oct 24, 2020; Provo, UT, USA; BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) looks down field in the first half during an NCAA college football game against Texas State Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Provo, Utah. Mandatory Credit: Rick Bowmer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY NETWORK

New York’s options with the second pick include Zach Wilson (BYU) and Justin Fields (Ohio State). The team could also trade out of the second spot and acquire a bounty of picks, retaining Darnold to be their starting quarterback for at least one more season.

It must be noted that Douglas does not have a built-in relationship with Darnold. Former general manager Mike Maccagnan selected the USC product No. 2 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, one year before Douglas gained his current title.

Perhaps, the Jets opt to go the veteran route at quarterback while moving on from Darnold. Detroit Lions Pro Bowler Matthew Stafford and former NFL MVP Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons could be available in trade talks once free agency opens. A lot of this will depend on the Jets’ next head coach.

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Jets rumors: Head coach search update

Jets rumors: Could Eric Bieniemy be their next head coach?
Oct 11, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy watches warm ups before the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
  • Eric Bieniemy: The Chiefs’ offensive coordinator interviewed for the Jets’ opening on Wednesday. There’s a good chance he sits atop the list.
  • Joe Brady: Finishing up shop on his first season as the Panthers’ offensive coordinator, Brady is among the hottest NFL head coach candidates right now. He’s obviously drawing interest from the Jets.

Related: Top Jets head coach candidates

These are the three names that Jets rumors indicate sit atop their wish list. All three are offensive minds, meaning that they’ll be asked to evaluate Sam Darnold and the team’s quarterback situation.

It remains to be seen what hiring any of these candidates would mean for Darnold in Jersey. We’re sure that conversation has been part of the interview process with Douglas and New York’s brass.

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Related: If you’re a fan of the Jets, check out #TakeFlight rumors, rankings, and news here.