Sam Darnold

QB Injury Updates: Brees, Darnold, Minshew, Lock, Dalton

There have been a lot of short-term quarterback injuries recently, and we’ve got a batch of updates to pass along. We heard earlier Monday that Drew Brees is dealing with several cracked ribs as well as a collapsed lung, and now we have a better idea how long he’ll be sidelined. 2-3 weeks is apparently the “most optimistic recovery time” for the veteran, a source told Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Graziano said there’s emphasis on the optimistic part there, indicating it could be quite a bit longer than that.

He also added “there is hope he’s back in time for playoffs,” which doesn’t paint the prettiest picture. It sounds like it’ll be Jameis Winston and/or Taysom Hill for the foreseeable future. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported earlier the Saints weren’t immediately planning on placing Brees on injured reserve, confirming there is some hope he won’t even have to miss three full games. Graziano says it’ll all come down to when they feel like he can take a hit without risk of re-injury. New Orleans will take on the Falcons this weekend, and head coach Sean Payton has already said he won’t name a starting quarterback until closer to kickoff.

Here’s more on the health status of various passers:

  • The Jets will be looking for their first win of the season with Joe Flacco yet again. Sam Darnold will not be able to return this week, they announced Monday. This will be Flacco’s fourth start of the season after Darnold briefly returned before re-injuring his shoulder and hitting the shelf again. Head coach Adam Gase said he could possibly play in Week 12, but that doesn’t sound overly likely at the moment. Darnold himself spoke to the media, and made it sound like the team is going to be very cautious and not play him until he’s 100 percent. He did say he was “very confident” he would play again this season, but we could be looking at another couple of games at least with Flacco under center.
  • Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew also won’t be ready to return this week, head coach Doug Marrone said Monday, meaning sixth-round rookie Jake Luton will get his third-straight start. It does sound like Minshew is getting closer though, as Marrone said he’ll start throwing routes again in practice this week, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Drew Lock melted down against the Raiders on Sunday with four interceptions, but he apparently wasn’t 100 percent healthy. Lock has a muscle strain around his ribs, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Head coach Vic Fangio acknowledged that his status for this weekend’s game against the Dolphins is in doubt. He also reiterated that he’s not considering benching the second-year pro assuming he’s healthy, even though he’s been struggling mightily recently. If he isn’t able to suit up Brett Rypien is currently the number two, although the team also has veteran Blake Bortles on the practice squad.
  • In better news, it looks like the Cowboys won’t have quite as chaotic a situation any more under center. Coach Mike McCarthy announced Monday that Andy Dalton had been cleared to fully return to practice, and he should start this Sunday against the Vikings. Dalton has missed the past two games after suffering a concussion and then testing positive for COVID-19. Seventh-round rookie Ben DiNucci and former undrafted AAF star Garrett Gilbert started in his place.

Latest On Jets’ Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold won’t just end the season. After consulting with several specialists, the Jets quarterback says the possibility of shoulder surgery is “not on the table,” (Twitter link via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com).

Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft, has been limited throughout the year. With his team now at 0-9, many would argue that surgery is the sensible move, especially since the Jets aren’t exactly committed to him beyond 2020. The Jets may be in line to draft Clemson superstar Trevor Lawrence in the spring, a move that would immediately put Darnold on the trading block.

A fresh start would probably benefit Darnold, though opinions are split on what exactly he has to offer. Recently, one NFL GM told Mike Sando of The Athletic that Darnold’s ceiling appears to be much lower than back in his USC days.

Darnold has talent,” the GM said. “You just wonder if they have ruined it. He has played behind a poor offensive line, has had no weapons, he was throwing to really Jamison Crowder as his No. 1. If the Jets keep losing and get the top pick, you could see another team that needs a quarterback and has a better supporting cast acquiring Darnold in the offseason figuring maybe he can be an average starter, and you can win with that.”

For now, Darnold will focus on rehabbing his shoulder. It’s not clear if he’ll be active for Week 11 against the Chargers, but he does have the benefit of the bye week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Gilmore, Pats, Tua, Jets

Although the Patriots shopped Stephon Gilmore this spring, they hung onto him at the trade deadline after setting a high price for the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. When asked if the Patriots entertained offers for Gilmore, Bill Belichick said he was not aware of that occurring. The Pats gave Gilmore a $5MM pay bump this year but will face a decision on the standout cornerback in 2021. That will be the final season of Gilmore’s five-year, $65MM deal. With Jalen Ramsey and Marlon Humphrey each securing extensions worth north of $19MM per year, thus blowing the lid off a long-stagnant corner market, Gilmore will understandably want to cash in while still in his prime. His potential new contract affected his trade market, Tom Curran of NBC Sports notes. Gilmore will turn 31 just after the start of next season.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • The Dolphins‘ trove of draft picks in 2021 appears to have affected their decision to move Tua Tagovailoa into their starting lineup now, creating an audition of sorts ahead of what looks like a strong quarterback draft. However, owner Stephen Ross was not behind the decision to insert Tagovailoa into the starting lineup, per the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero. With Ross a major supporter of the quarterback the Dolphins were eyeing for more than a year before this year’s draft, it would certainly be interesting if the team continues to be linked to a potential first-round QB pick ahead of the 2021 draft.
  • With their 0-8 record at the bottom of the league, the Jets will continue to be linked to 2021 QB prospects — namely Trevor Lawrence. Their 2018 first-round draftee’s status will move the Jets closer to the Clemson quarterback. Sam Darnold is now unlikely to play against the Patriots, after suffering a shoulder setback against the Chiefs. Adam Gase said Friday that Darnold told him he was not throwing as well as he hoped, and the Jets on Saturday downgraded their starter to doubtful for Monday’s game. Joe Flacco is in line to receive a third start as a Jet.
  • More trouble for the AFC’s New York franchise. Jets players and their agents alerted the NFLPA recently about cameras existing in the team’s locker room, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Specifically, the NFLPA contacted the NFL about surveillance equipment being hidden in smoke detectors in the Jets locker room, Mehta adds. The league indicated cameras have existed in and around the team’s locker room since 2008 and that the players were aware of them. Per several anonymous current and former players, via Mehta, that does not appear to be the case. No consent form permitting cameras is believed to have been signed, and Mehta adds the NFLPA is “troubled” by the Jets unilaterally placing cameras in the locker room.

Jets Notes: Darnold, 2017 Draft, Gase, Maye

Some rare good news for the Jets. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that quarterback Sam Darnold‘s precautionary MRI of his right shoulder only showed a “reaggravation.” The 23-year-old will attempt to work through the injury and won’t be sidelined.

Darnold initially suffered the shoulder injury during the Jets’ Week 4 loss to the Broncos, and that forced Joe Flacco into the lineup for Week 5. Darnold returned under center for the past two games, but he’s only completed 56.6-percent of his passes for 253 yards and two interceptions. Prior to the injury, Darnold completed 59.42-percent of his passes for 792 yards, three scores, and four interceptions.

Darnold has missed eight games through his three NFL seasons. If he’s forced to miss more time, the team could either turn to Flacco, third-stringer James Morgan, or practice squad signal-caller Mike White.

Some more notes out of the Big Apple:

  • Prior to the Jets loss to the Chiefs yesterday, ESPN’s Rich Cimini gave the “inside story” of why the organization passed on future MVP and champion Patrick Mahomes during the 2017 draft. There were a variety of reasons that went into the decision: the Jets had already invested in Josh McCown as their bridge quarterback, there was still some optimism that Christian Hackenberg could work out, former GM Mike Maccagnan already had his eye on the 2018 quarterbacks class (including Darnold), and the organization was much more infatuated with their eventual pick, safety Jamal Adams. Still, prior to the draft, Mahomes thought he could end up in New York. “I definitely thought there was interest there,” Mahomes said. “Whenever you go on those visits, you know they’re pretty interested in doing their due diligence. I definitely thought there was interest there.”
  • While we’ve heard a similar sentiment throughout the past few weeks, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY reiterates that the Jets aren’t expected to fire head coach Adam Gase midseason. “They really don’t want to do it,” a source told Vacchiano. “They may have to, at some point. But they know a midseason coaching change doesn’t change their situation. I think they’re going to hold off as long as they can.” Vacchiano provided a variety of reasons why it makes sense for the Jets to hold on to Gase, including the fact that the head coach serves as a “lightning rod” while distracting from general manager Joe Douglas‘ shaky first season with the organization.
  • Safety Marcus Maye‘s rookie contract is set to come to an end, and Cimini believes he could be eyeing a contract that will pay him around $7MM per season. As a result, Cimini reports that rival teams believe the 27-year-old could be had as part of the team’s fire sale. The reporter had a similar sentiment about Bradley McDougald, although the impending free agent safety has since landed on IR.
  • In the same article, Cimini passes along an anecdote from 2018, when the Jets “boxed” out the QB-needy Bills by moving from No. 6 to No. 3 in a deal with the Colts. The move allowed the Jets to select Darnold, who was Buffalo’s top-rated QB. In fact, the Bills were so displeased with the deal, they refused to negotiate with Indy for the remainder of the draft. Buffalo ended up trading up from No. 11 to No. 7, and they proceeded to select Josh Allen.

Trade Rumors: Giants, Ryan, Fuller

After dealing Markus Golden to the Cardinals, it appears the 1-6 Giants have officially declared themselves sellers at this year’s trade deadline. Though GM Dave Gettleman may be reluctant to trade away veteran talent that could theoretically help Big Blue win a few games — and perhaps save Gettleman’s job in the process — players like Evan Engram, Kevin Zeitler, and Golden Tate could be available, as Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post writes (though Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says the club is unlikely to deal Engram).

2017 second-round DT Dalvin Tomlinson could also be on the move, per Dunleavy. Tomlinson is playing out the last year of his rookie contract, and while he has expressed interest in staying with the Giants long-term, there has been little progress in contract talks.

As we creep closer to the November 3 deadline, let’s round up a few more trade rumors from around the league:

Jets Notes: Bell, Gase, Darnold, Anderson

Here is the latest from the Jets, beginning with some fallout from their disappointing Le’Veon Bell contract:

  • Adam Gase took issue with Bell’s social media habits and was said to have expressed dissatisfaction with the running back last season. That was a two-way street, to a degree. Bell expressed disappointment in Gase’s game plans in 2019, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Bell discussed the prospect of requesting a trade this offseason, should his Jets situation fail to improve, but decided instead to stay the course, Mehta adds. This, however, ended up being a moot subject — largely because of Bell’s disastrous contract. The Jets, who previously shopped Bell’s lucrative deal, released him Tuesday.
  • The Jets will be without Sam Darnold again this week against the Dolphins. The team will hold its starting quarterback out of its Week 6 contest, giving offseason addition Joe Flacco another start. Flacco averaged just 5.9 yards per attempt in a 195-yard day against the Cardinals.
  • By Sunday, Darnold will have missed seven career starts in his three-season NFL tenure. Durability may be a concern, even though Darnold’s absences have been related to two separate injuries and mononucleosis. The former No. 3 overall pick’s coverage recognition, however, has been a discussion point this season, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. The Jets will need to decide on Darnold’s fifth-year option by May, but they may be in position to draft Clemson prodigy Trevor Lawrence. More intel on Darnold will be necessary by season’s end, even if the team does not land the No. 1 overall pick.
  • Robby Anderson‘s Panthers pact has thus far worked out well for Carolina. On a three-game win streak, the Panthers have seen the former Jets deep threat thrive in an all-around role. Anderson has eclipsed 99 receiving yards in four of Carolina’s five games and leads the team — by more than 100 yards — with 489. Anderson did not produce a 1,000-yard season with the Jets and intimated he prefers his Panthers role. “I love being in this system because for so long it was, ‘Oh, he’s only a deep threat,'” Anderson said during an interview with Josina Anderson (via Cimini). “It used to eat me up because I’m like, ‘I know what I can do.’ I love that I’m in this offense, where I really get to catch and run and play football.” Anderson signed a two-year, $20MM deal ($12MM guaranteed) with Carolina.

Could Jets Trade Sam Darnold?

The Jets have stumbled to an 0-4 record to start the 2020 season and have undeniably looked like the worst team in the league. As such, New York has a great chance of finishing the season with the No. 1 overall pick, which means the club would be in position to land a potentially generational QB talent in Clemson signal-caller Trevor Lawrence.

Of course, that would leave Sam Darnold — the No. 3 overall pick of the 2018 draft — on the outs. Plenty of fans and writers alike have connected the dots and have wondered if the Jets would consider trading Darnold, and if so, what the club could expect in return.

Last year, the Cardinals traded Darnold’s draftmate, QB Josh Rosen, to the Dolphins in exchange for second- and fifth-round selections. A few executives tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com that the Jets could expect similar compensation if they elect to move Darnold.

Although Darnold has certainly shown more flashes of promise than Rosen had when he was traded, the Jets’ passer has not come close to living up to his draft status. Of course, there are plenty of organizational, coaching, and talent issues outside of Darnold’s control that have led to his struggles, but his overall body of work has left much to be desired.

Still, there are a few clubs that might not be drafting high enough to select a future franchise quarterback that will nonetheless need a talented young passer sooner rather than later. Those clubs include teams like the Colts, Bears, and Saints, all of whom could theoretically make a play for Darnold.

Matt Miller of Bleacher Report also names the Steelers as a great fit, and he believes Pittsburgh should trade a second-round pick plus a player or two to land the USC product (Twitter link). Unsurprisingly, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic says the Steelers have no interest in Darnold, though he does believe Darnold or a player in his situation will ultimately be the type of passer that Pittsburgh will need to target to adequately replace Ben Roethlisberger.

Any Darnold trade would not happen until after the season, and if he continues to struggle, the Jets’ price would continue to drop, especially since rival clubs would see Lawrence as an inevitability for Gang Green at that point. Plus, an acquiring team would need to make a decision on Darnold’s fully-guaranteed ~$24MM fifth-year option for 2022 at some point in May, which would be just one more complicating factor.

Darnold will miss the Jets’ game against the Cardinals today due to a shoulder injury. Over the first four games of the season, he has completed under 60% of his passes and has thrown three TDs against four interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets To Sit Sam Darnold In Week 5

WEDNESDAY: The Jets have confirmed Flacco will take the reins as their Week 5 starter, giving Darnold more time to return to full strength. Adam Gase tabbed Darnold as “week to week.”

TUESDAY: Although Sam Darnold returned to last week’s Jets-Broncos game after absorbing a violent sack, he may be forced to miss time for a third straight season.

The Jets are expected to hold their starting quarterback out against the Cardinals, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets. Some in the organization view it as best to be cautious with Darnold’s AC joint sprain, even though the third-year passer finished last week’s game.

Despite only being cleared to play recently, Joe Flacco would be called upon to start against Arizona in this case. Flacco replaced Darnold after Alexander Johnson slammed the Jets starter to the turf Thursday, but Darnold re-entered the game soon after. Flacco spent the past several months rehabbing from neck surgery.

Darnold has been spotty this season, ranking 27th in Total QBR, though the Jets have been without much of his already shaky skill-position group to start the campaign. Should the USC alum be held out of Sunday’s game, it would be his seventh missed start as a pro. The 2018 No. 3 overall pick missed three games as a rookie because of a foot sprain and was out due to mononucleosis early last season. Darnold played through an AC joint sprain in his left shoulder in high school, per Mehta, but damage to his throwing shoulder is obviously a bit different.

With the Jets’ 0-4 start having placed them as a candidate to land the 2021 No. 1 pick — widely expected to be Clemson prospect Trevor Lawrence — Darnold’s season may take on greater importance. But it might well be paused for a bit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Chubb, Looney, Darnold, Fant,

It’s been a bad year for injuries, and unfortunately we’ve already heard reports of significant ones to guys like O.J. Howard and Austin Ekeler this Sunday. Here’s the latest batch of updates as Week 4 winds down:

  • Browns running back Nick Chubb got rolled up on in scary fashion, with his knee twisting under a Cowboys defender. Fortunately it looks like Cleveland dodged a bullet, as a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com that the team is “cautiously optimistic” he didn’t suffer a torn ACL. He’ll have an MRI on Monday to tell the full story, but it looks like he isn’t going to be done for the year.
  • Chubb wasn’t the only one to go down with a knee injury in the same game. Cowboys center Joe Looney also hurt his knee and was quickly ruled out, which had Dallas fans holding their breath. Like with Chubb however it appears it could’ve been worse, as Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets that there’s “hope the injury is not of season-ending variety.” Dallas is already banged up on the offensive line, and starting right tackle La’el Collins was just ruled out for the year due to hip surgery, so this would be a big loss. Rookie fourth-round pick Tyler Biadasz filled in after Looney got hurt.
  • Sam Darnold hurt his shoulder early in the Jets’ Thursday Night Football game, and although he was able to return to the loss to the Broncos and keep playing, it appears he isn’t out of the woods yet. Darnold has a sprained AC joint in his shoulder and is in danger of missing New York’s Week 5 game against the Cardinals, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “We just need to make sure we lay everything out and kind of see where we go from here, what’s best for him, not just next week but long term,” head coach Adam Gase explained. Darnold has struggled mightily in his third season, and considering this is clearly the Jets’ easiest game for the foreseeable future, it would be great if he could play. If he’s unable to go, veteran Joe Flacco would draw the spot start.
  • Broncos tight end Noah Fant also went down on Thursday night, suffering an ankle injury. Although he was carte to the locker room it fortunately isn’t a season-ending broken ankle or anything of the sort. That being said he will be week to week and is expected to miss Denver’s Week 5 game against the Patriots, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). You’re probably well aware of the Broncos’ injury woes this season, as players have been going down left and right. At 1-3 and without practically half of their starting lineup, it’s looking like a lost season for Denver. The 20th overall pick of last year’s draft had been playing well, with 19 catches for 219 yards and two scores through three and a half games before going down.

East Notes: Giants, Eagles, Jones, Bills, Jets

Free agent offensive lineman Mike Remmers will not re-sign with the Giants before the market opens in two weeks, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Remmers started 14 games at right tackle for New York in 2019, but given that he’s entering his age-31 season, it shouldn’t be surprising if he’s forced to settle for another one-year deal in free agency. A former undrafted free agent, Remmers has spent two of the past three seasons playing under Pat Shurmur, leading Florio to speculate that Remmer could now be an option for the offensive line-needy Broncos, who recently brought Shurmur aboard as offensive coordinator.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • A number of teams have expressed early interest in Cowboys free agent cornerback Byron Jones, but Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network hears the Giants and Eagles could potentially engage in a bidding war for the veteran defensive back. The Broncos, Lions, and Raiders have also been mentioned as possible suitors for Jones, who is reaching free agency after five seasons in Dallas. Widely viewed as the best corner available, Jones could reset the CB market by topping $16MM+ in annual salary.
  • Just three seasons into his NFL career, the Bills’ Tre’Davious White has already positioned himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the league. “Obviously, Tre’s a guy we love and want back,” general manager Brandon Beane indicated on WGR 550 AM (link via Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News). “You do look and try and find what the value is. And it’s hard. It can sometimes be hard for agents, too, because they’re trying to look at what the market is today versus what’s it going to be in two years. Do they want to play it out? Do they want security now?” The Bills can control White through at least 2021 via the fifth-year option.
  • Free agent quarterback Trevor Siemian is now fully recovered after suffering a brutal ankle injury in Week 2, reports Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Siemian became the Jets‘ starter after Sam Darnold was diagnosed with mono, but attempted only six passes before going down. Just 28 years old and with 25 NFL starts under his belt, Siemian could attract interest as a back-end No. 2 quarterback.