Reserve/Future Signing: Mike White (0/0/7/0, 0/0)
Finished on Practice Squad: David Fales
No Longer With Team: Fales
Potential Unrestricted FAs in 2021: Flacco
'21: A New Deal
While speculation swirls about possible unprecedented quarterback movement in the NFL this offseason, general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh have made it clear how they feel about Sam Darnold.
"I think that Sam is going to be a great quarterback," Douglas said after the 2020 season had reached its conclusion. "I think Sam has a very bright future in this league. So, we're going to get a head coach in here, we're going to get together and we're going to talk about quite a few decisions. I'm excited about Sam."
A little more than two weeks later, Saleh virtually met with the media at his introductory news conference and praised Darnold's physical skill set and intangibles.
"He's got unbelievable arm talent," Saleh said after becoming the 20th head coach in franchise history. "He's fearless in the pocket, he's got a natural throwing motion, he's mobile, he's extremely intelligent and he's tough as nails. His reputation in the locker room is unquestioned. There's a reason he was the third pick in the draft and you can see all those qualities on tape and around the building and in the way people speak about him."
Saleh declined to set a QB timeline as far as the team's plans at signal-caller, stating there would be multiple discussions and many evaluations ahead at every position ,with QB being the most important one. With the NFL's league year and free agency set to being on March 17 and with the Jets equipped with loads of draft capital featuring the No. 2 overall selection, two first-round picks and five selections in the first three rounds, there will be options and one of those includes building around Darnold.
Joe Flacco, who backed up Darnold and started four games in 2020, is an unrestricted free agent.
See the Top Photos of Sam Darnold, Joe Flacco and the Jets Quarterbacks in 2020
'20: Quick Look Back
Darnold started 12 games for the Jets, completing 59.6% of his passes for 2,208 yards with 9 TDs and 11 INTs. From Weeks 14-16 and against three teams that made the playoffs in the Seahawks, the Rams and the Browns, Darnold led the Green & White to two victories and went a career-high three straight contests without committing a turnover.
"I do you think you saw in the month of December Sam played a lot of good ball," Douglas said. "You obviously saw that we were able to beat two playoff teams and a lot of that is because of the way Sam played. So, like I said before, I really think that Sam truly does have a bright future in this league, a 23-year-old quarterback, and Sam is still going to get better every year."
Darnold sustained a pair of injuries to his right shoulder in Weeks 4 and 8 losses to the Broncos and Chiefs respectively, forcing the third-year pro out of the lineup for four games.
"Derailed might be a harsh word, but in some ways it derailed the season for me. It just set me back," Darnold said. "As a quarterback, you wish to play every single game. I'm going to continue to take really, really good care of my body this offseason and make sure stuff like that, as avoidable as possible, doesn't happen again."
Darnold's had an uneven ride during his first three professional seasons while compiling a 13-25 mark in 38 career starts. He's been a shade under a 60% passer (59.8), throwing for 8,097 yards with 45 TDs and 39 INTs. Next season, he'll work in a new system under his third head coach and third offensive coordinator.
"I absolutely believe my best football's ahead of me," he said. "Really, these last three years motivate me, too. I'm going to work just as hard if not harder than I've ever worked before in this offseason and I'm going to come back stronger."
With Sam Darnold rushing for 217 yards on 37 carries highlighted by his 46-yard touchdown scramble vs. Denver, the Jets quarterbacks in 2020 averaged 5.56 yards/carry, their most since the 1980 team, led by QB Richard Todd, who had all 49 carries at the position, averaged 6.73 yards/carry.