Sam Darnold is gone, and the Jets’ final quarterback search has come to another unfortunate end.
Zack Wilson is likely to be the next candidate for Joe Namath’s franchise quarterback heir in April.
Darnold leaves an overall mark of 13-25 with 45 touchdown passes and 39 interceptions that helped achieve an overall ranking of 78.1 in 38 games.
His three year stint can be discussed with the likes of Richard Todd, Ken O’Brien, Boomer Esiason, Chad Pennington and Mark Sanchez as quarterbacks after Namath with successful periods.
In three years he dealt with a sprain of the ankle, a sprain of the foot, a mononucleosis and a sprain of the shoulder.
There’s a certain irony in trading, and Darnold is the potential benefactor.
Darnold also looked at head coaches Todd Bowles and Adam Gase – two coaches who are not highly regarded – and a host of offensive coordinators.
He never really had a full offensive arsenal in his three years but managed to get his team down to 6-2 in the last eight games of the 2019 season.
Broad recipient Robbie Anderson, one of Darnold’s most effective weapons, was not re-signed as a free agent and ironically ended up with Carolina, where he will reunite with Darnold.
Darnold is also coached by Matt Rhule, who was reportedly banned from picking his assistants from the Jets after it was believed he was a key candidate for head coaching.
The former USC caller will also have the benefit of running back Christian McCaffrey, one of the game’s elite, and ex-Jet Trenton Cannon is also in the backfield.
Ex-jet guard Pat Elflein is a planned starter as well as ex-teammate Frankie Luvu at the linebacker.
Then there’s quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who signed a three-year $ 63 million deal with the Panthers last season and has had a mediocre year. Ironically, Bridgewater was at Jets’ Camp in Darnold’s 2018 rookie year before being brought to New Orleans.
Now Bridgewater has emerged as the lead candidate in New Orleans to replace retired Drew Brees, and Carolina can win back the draft picks they lost for Darnold by sending Bridgewater back to the Big Easy.
So Darnold fled New York and he might finally blossom south, as was expected when he arrived in Florham Park. He’s certainly not going to be subjected to intense scrutiny since he was here.
He was another quarterback who couldn’t be the next franchise Namath.
Wilson will be in line when the Jets draw him in April and he will be in the spotlight right away. With his high profile, it will be interesting to see how long Wilson’s leash will be.
On the other hand, Darnold has a fresh start with the environment he never really had.