New York Jets promote a QB with Sam Darnold’s status in question

New York Jets
ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 29: A general view of a New York Jets helmet before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on December 29, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. Jets beat the Bills 13 to 6. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

The New York Jets added quarterback Mike White from their practice squad and released running back Kalen Ballage.

With Sam Darnold’s situation in question, the New York Jets added quarterback Mike White to their active roster. In a corresponding move, the team released rusher Kalen Ballage.

White, 25, was the Jets’ backup quarterback for the first three games this season but returned to the practice squad when Joe Flacco was cleared for action prior to last Thursday’s game against Denver. The former Dallas Cowboys draft pick (fifth round, 2018) was first signed to the New York practice squad last September and signed a reserve/future contract in January. He has yet to appear in an NFL game.

White’s return may be a negative omen towards the status of starter Sam Darnold for Sunday’s visit from the Arizona Cardinals (1 p.m. ET, Fox). Darnold sustained a shoulder injury while taking a sack in Thursday’s 37-28 loss to the Broncos and was removed from the game. Flacco took his spot on the next New York series, but Darnold returned before the drive ended and was not taken out from that point forward. If Darnold is out, the former Super Bowl MVP Flacco will likely get the start with White once against serving as the understudy.

While Darnold claims his shoulder “feels good” and the team is taking his status on a day-to-day basis, according to team reporter Ethan Greenberg, Thursday’s aftermath has many speculating about Darnold’s status for Week 5. Darnold has missed six games due to injury or illness over his first two NFL seasons and the Jets are 0-6 in such contests.

The rearrival of White led to an early end for Ballage’s Jets career. A former pupil of head coach Adam Gase with the Miami Dolphins, Ballage failed a physical that voided an August trade to the Jets. He was signed just over two weeks later by the Jets after the Dolphins waived him. Ballege failed to find a lasting role in the Jets’ offense, even with starting running back Le’Veon Bell out due to an injury. He earned 67 yards on nine receptions over three games in New York, as well as 13 yards on a trio of rushing attempts.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags