New York Jets should not take a QB with No. 2 pick in 2021 NFL Draft

Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Sam Darnold, New York Jets
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (Photo by Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) /

Sam Darnold is a free agent after next season

The reason why people are urgent to hear how the Jets feel about Darnold is because they have to make a decision on the fifth-year option on his contract. But in the grand scheme of things, if the Jets exercise Darnold’s fifth-year option (which will be more than $20 million), they don’t have to pay him anything, as long as they trade him before the 2022 season.

Moving off of Darnold would be just as easy next season as it is now because there wouldn’t be a dead cap for the Jets to take in. So why shouldn’t the New York Jets give Darnold a chance to show that he can be a franchise quarterback this season under a competent coaching staff and with some help on offense?

The worst-case scenario for the Jets is that Darnold doesn’t play well next season despite all of their offseason moves and the team cuts or trades him away. If that ends up being the case, they would once again be primed to select a quarterback early in the 2022 NFL Draft and that class could be better than this year’s group.

If Darnold plays well next year, the Jets will be happy they picked up his fifth-year option and start negotiations on a new deal. Unless he has an All-Pro or MVP caliber year, it seems unlikely that Darnold would demand to be the highest-paid quarterback.

If the Jets hold onto Darnold a little longer, it could be worth it, in the long run, to let him develop in their new system. Despite the league losing patience for quarterbacks, the Jets should remember that Darnold was the youngest starting quarterback in NFL history and will only be 24 next season.