New York Jets: 2020 could be make-or-break season for Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold, New York Jets (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Sam Darnold, New York Jets (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

If Sam Darnold does not improve in 2020, the New York Jets may soon be looking for a new answer at the quarterback position.

The New York Jets aggressively attacked the quarterback position in the 2018 NFL Draft, trading up three spots before the draft to eventually acquire Sam Darnold with the third overall pick. When they drafted Darnold, the Jets did not expect to be looking for a new quarterback soon. However, two years in and Darnold has not exactly established himself as an elite franchise quarterback.

While it is hard to put too much of the blame on Darnold, he has been less than impressive in his first two NFL seasons. In 26 career games, Darnold has completed 59.9% of his passes for 5,889 yards 36 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. Not terrible numbers by any means, but there is still plenty to be desired out of a guy who was supposed to lead the New York Jets to success for many years.

The Jets did a nice job this offseason of building through the draft, most notably adding two players who will immediately help Darnold. With the fourth overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Jets took left tackle Andrew Thomas who should be able to come in and make an immediate contribution. In the second round, the Jets took talented wide receiver, Denzel Mims.

Both Thomas and Mims are gifted players at important offensive positions who could quickly grow with Darnold if things go right. However, they are both still rookies who are expected to fill major roles. How much help will they really provide Darnold right away?

As talented as Darnold is, he has yet to prove himself as a top-tier starting quarterback in the NFL and the Jets have not exactly surrounded him with a ton of big-time talent. I am not saying that New York will move on from him if he is not perfect, but the opportunity could present itself if things do not go well in 2020.

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The 2021 NFL Draft class will have some extremely interesting quarterbacks and if Darnold does not take a significant step forward, the Jets could easily find themselves in a position to land one of them. If this scenario plays out, it could quickly become an extremely difficult decision to make, especially if head coach Adam Gase gets the boot.

There is certainly a realistic scenario where the New York Jets enter the 2021 NFL season with a new head coach and franchise quarterback. Likely? Perhaps not, but undoubtedly possible.