Throughout the season,NewYorkJets.comreporters Eric Allen, Randy Lange and Ethan Greenberg will each give their answers to a series of questions regarding this year's team.
EA: It means we could be staring at history. If Todd Bowles names Sam Darnold the starter, the USC product would become the youngest opening day starter since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Darnold will be 21 years and 97 days old on Sept. 10 when the Jets visit the Lions in Detroit. I think it's fitting that the Green & White open up on national television because something both head coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates have said about the talented Darnold is he performs better when the lights are brighter. The trade also spoke to the depth the Jets at the position throughout the summer. I've never seen it quite like this in my 18 seasons covering the club and that's why you would even consider dealing a 25-year-old former first-round pick who was performing at a high level. Bridgewater has a bright future in the NFL, but Darnold is the Jets' future and it feels like he could be the team's now. In Josh McCown, you have a respected leader within the room who played at a high level last season and is willing to help the team in any way possible. Finally, GM Mike Maccagnan has to get high marks for the way he maneuvered throughout the offseason in regards to the most important position in football. He signed Bridgewater, re-signed McCown, moved up from No. 6 to No. 3 and eventually landed arguably the top QB in this class. Then he moved Bridgewater for a third-rounder (giving up a sixth in the process) and will enter next April with his first rounder and a pair in Round 3. The Jets found their long-term QB and they are positioned with a ton of money under the cap for free agency in addition to not having to sacrifice too much draft capital in the process. Bridgewater was a hell of a teammate and he's a very good player and the Jets will root for him wherever he goes. He probably wasn't going to be here in 2019 and Maccagnan made another sound decision in an offseason that has been filled with them.
RL: The Teddy Bridgewater trade to New Orleans brings some clarity to the Jets' QB room and to the team at large heading into the final 1½ weeks of the preseason, knowing who the probable opening night starter is (we'll let you guess who that is). Then after giving up two second-rounders to move up and take Sam Darnold third overall this year, the Jets with the Bridgewater trade improved their positions in the first two days of the 2019 draft from 1-3 to 1-3-3, which by draft math is pretty close to 1-2. And that's if GM Mike Maccagnan keeps the two threes, although he could also use them to explore another trade this season if he so desires. Finally, we don't think Mac cares that much about the analysts' opinions, but Green & White fans should be heartened that on almost every media platform, from the team's beatwriters to the national outlets, the experts like the Jets' trade. They did right for TB and they did right for the team on the doorstep of the 2018 season.
EG: While the Teddy Bridgewater trade sheds some light on the Jets' looming quarterback decision, it could also provide the Green & White more depth at a different position. The Jets, along with the other 31 clubs in the NFL, have until Saturday at 4PM to trim their roster from 90 to 53. If general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles elect to keep two signal callers on the active roster, it will allow them an extra body at another spot. Bowles said there are still five or six spots open on the team that the players will fight for in the preseason finale Thursday night against the Eagles. The Green & White could decide to keep an extra body to serve a predominant role on special teams. Wide receiver Charone Peake is on most of the starting special teams units, but had a relatively quiet camp in a crowded receivers room. Maybe the extra body is used at running back until Eli McGuire returns to action. There are many positions the Jets could decide to add an extra body, but we'll see what happens in a little over 48 hours. And on a side note, Bridgwater is liked wherever he goes and watching him come back from that devastating knee injury to perform so well, albeit in the preseason, is awesome. Pulling for Teddy Two Gloves down in NOLA.