As his potential final hours as the New York Jets’ franchise QB await, Sam Darnold announced his hope to remain clad in green for the future.
As the New York Jets’ “endeavor for Trevor” (Lawrence) draws to a merciful end, the awkward question becomes the green fate of Sam Darnold.
The macabre silver lining of this brutal Jets season is the fact that their winless ledger has given them the inside track for the top overall pick in next spring’s draft. Many Jets fans have openly advocated for the Jets to lose so as to etch their place in the first slot. But the potential arrival of Lawrence, the national champion from Clemson, or another potential new franchise option (like Justin Fields of Ohio State) would likely mean the end of the line for Darnold, the Jets’ primary quarterback for the last three seasons.
Darnold’s regression has been one of the darkest lowlights of the Jets’ woebegone season. He is on pace to set career-lows in nearly every major passing category, partly thanks to missing four games due to an ankle injury suffered in an October loss to Denver. His passer rating of 67.3 is the lowest in the NFL amongst quarterbacks with at least 224 pass attempts, accompanying tallies of 1,560 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. Darnold has also been sacked 28 times this season and has only been united with his top receiving trio (Breshad Perriman, Denzel Mims, Jamison Crowder) for three games this season.
Yet, the third overall pick of the 2018 draft wants to stick around.
In his Monday availability, reeling from the aftermath of a 40-3 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, Darnold made it clear that this trying season has done nothing to damper his enthusiasm when it came to his current settings.
“I love it here, all the people around here, I love living here. I’ve always said it, I want to be a Jet for life,” Darnold said, per notes from the Jets. “That decision isn’t necessarily up to me, but that’s how I feel.”
Darnold, 23, was questioned about his role in the Jets’ long-term plans or even if a change of scenery would do him some good. He reiterated that he plans to take things “one day at a time”, but hopes the Jets have the confidence in him to help raise the team from the gridiron abyss.
“I believe in myself as a quarterback and as a player in this league,” he continued. “Obviously, that decision isn’t up to me, but I’m always going to believe in myself and have the utmost confidence in myself to be able to go out there and play good football on Sundays.”
“I’m not worried about speculation or what others are saying outside of our locker room. For me, I’m just worried about playing good football down this stretch and really taking it one day at a time and one game at a time.”
Darnold’s next chance to impress and potentially keep his role in New York comes on Sunday, as the Jets (0-13) return to the west coast to battle the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags