Robert Saleh’s arrival bodes effectively for New York Jets’ Sam Darnold

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Now that the New York Jets have reached an settlement in precept to have Robert Saleh as their new coach, the main target shifts to quarterback Sam Darnold, whose poor play throughout the 2020 NFL season has fueled hypothesis about his future with the workforce.

Saleh could have an enormous say in that call, as he ought to, however the early indications are Darnold will return. At the very least two candidates who interviewed for the head-coaching emptiness got here away with the impression Darnold stays the choice of the workforce’s hierarchy.

“They like him rather a lot,” one candidate informed ESPN.

Jets basic supervisor Joe Douglas spoke positively of Darnold on the finish of the season, however stayed away from any definitive statements, indicating he wished the coach to be a part of that course of.

Saleh hasn’t spoken publicly since agreeing to a five-year contract; the previous San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator might be launched subsequent week. All we have now to go on is what he mentioned earlier than the Week 2 matchup towards the Jets, and it is not a lot. He mentioned Darnold “is getting rather a lot higher. … He is a really proficient quarterback.”

In the end, Saleh and Douglas must determine if they’ll discover an improve within the 2021 NFL draft. It could have been a no brainer if they’d landed the highest decide; the selection would’ve been QB Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), that means a commerce for Darnold. They missed that chance by profitable two of their final three video games, ensuing within the No. 2 decide. Assuming the Jacksonville Jaguars take Lawrence, the Jets might be left with Justin Fields (Ohio State) or Zach Wilson (BYU) or the very best non-quarterbacks within the draft.

The Jets, in all probability like lots of groups, see a spot between Lawrence and the opposite quarterbacks, a supply mentioned. If Douglas has reservations about Fields or Wilson (or another quarterback not named Lawrence), it is sensible to construct round Darnold by drafting sort out Penei Sewell or Heisman Trophy-winning broad receiver DeVonta Smith.

The best situation could be to swap locations with a quarterback-needy workforce such because the Atlanta Falcons (No. 4), accumulating additional draft capital. Proper now, the Jets have 5 picks within the first three rounds, together with No. 2 and No. 23. They may simply flip that into seven picks by buying and selling down. That might be a franchise-changing haul.

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Wealthy Cimini breaks down the Jets reaching settlement with 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to be their new head coach, and why he matches what the group is searching for.

Saleh needs to rent 49ers passing-game coordinator Mike LaFleur as his offensive coordinator, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported — and that is necessary on this sense: He would run the Kyle Shanahan model of the West Coast offense, basically the identical system Darnold had as a rookie in 2018. The Jets’ coordinator that season was Jeremy Bates, a Mike Shanahan disciple. Darnold performed the very best ball of his profession over the ultimate few video games of that season.

It could be Darnold’s third system in 4 years (head-spinning), nevertheless it’s superb for his talent set as a result of it options rollouts and bootlegs, which might maximize his means to throw on the run. It is a run-heavy offense that depends on play-action and pre-snap movement, two methods to make life simpler for the quarterback. If LaFleur will get the job — the Jets should interview a minority candidate to adjust to the Rooney Rule, which now covers coordinator jobs — it might be a profession turning level for Darnold.

Or not.

If Darnold does not enhance, the Jets might be in quarterback limbo after the 2021 season — an all-too-familiar place for the franchise. There could be a method out, although. Remember, they’ve two first-round picks in 2022, due to the Jamal Adams commerce — loads of ammo for a quarterback. The issue with that’s they’d be beginning over one yr into the Saleh regime, hardly superb.

Darnold has one yr left on his contract, which suggests there’s monetary uncertainty past 2021 — except the Jets pull an upset and train his fifth-year choice for 2022 (estimated $25 million). The monetary element to this choice cannot be minimized. That, coupled with Darnold’s regression, makes the argument to commerce him and draft his alternative. The Jets in all probability would get no worse than a third-round decide for him.

Little doubt, Darnold went backward beneath former coach Adam Gase, as he was the lowest-rated passer within the NFL (72.7). He beat the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns, two playoff groups, taking part in the function of recreation supervisor. His season excessive was 266 passing yards and, in a season of unprecedented scoring within the NFL, he had 9 landing passes in 12 video games.

Was it teaching or was it Darnold? Was he undermined by a suspect supporting solid? Douglas and Saleh are getting massive bucks to make that decision. They do not must make it till the draft. For now, it is trending towards a fourth season for Darnold.

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