Sam Darnold

Jets Notes: Douglas, Powell, Darnold

We learned earlier today that NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah wouldn’t be joining Joe Douglas‘s staff in New York, but the Jets’ new GM could look to another TV analyst. ESPN’s Todd McShay told ESPN’s Rich Cimini that he’s under consideration for a front office role (Twitter link).

“Joe is considering multiple options and I’m one of the options,” McShay said.

The two go far back, as Douglas and McShay were teammates at the University of Richmond. The ESPN draft analyst is expected to meet with the general manager later this week.

Let’s check out some more notes coming out of New York…

  • Count Sam Darnold among those who are excited to have Bilal Powell back in green. The Jets announced yesterday that they re-signed the veteran running back to a one-year deal. “Great to have BP back,” Darnold told Cimini (Twitter link). “Can’t wait to get to work with him. I haven’t seen him in a while, so it’s going to be nice to just be able to see him. BP is a great guy and obviously a great player, so it’s great to have him back.” Cleared from a scary neck injury that was believed at one point to be a career-threatening malady, Powell will now be preparing for his ninth season in New York. The 30-year-old finished the 2018 season with 11 receptions for 110 yards and one touchdown in seven games (seven starts). He also added 343 rushing yards on 80 carries.
  • Darnold was also optimistic about the team’s hiring of Douglas. “I know that he’s done great things with the Eagles,” Darnold told Cimini (Twitter link). “Every other place he’s been, he’s done a great job, as well. Looking forward to working with him and seeing what he can do for our team.” It’s worth noting that Darnold and Douglas are both represented by agent Jimmy Sexton (along with head coach Adam Gase).
  • Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman released a statement regarding the hiring of the Eagles’ former vice president of player personnel. “We want to thank Joe Douglas for his contributions to our organization,” Roseman said. “We will miss Joe personally and professionally…He’s a tireless worker who played an integral role in helping to construct our Super Bowl-winning roster. He deserves this opportunity and the Jets are lucky to have him as their GM just like we were to have him in Philadelphia.”
  • It sounds like Gase will already have a task for Douglas. The head coach told Brian Costello of the New York Post that the team is thin at cornerback. “I think we’re thin at more than just corner,” Gase said. “There’s some other spots where if we have some injuries, it could be an issue. That’s why we have to keep finding ways to create competition.” Trumaine Johnson, Darryl Roberts and Brian Poole are currently slotted in as the team’s starting cornerbacks.
  • Either way, Gase is confident that the organization can find another defensive back as other teams begin trimming their rosters. “You kind of get in the middle of June and all of a sudden some guys get cut free due to salary issues, you get the waiver wire, you’ll just always comb that thing, see if you can create competition whether it’s a corner or at any other position,” Gase said. “That’s why the pro department’s got to do a great job going through, you know, when we get closer to those cuts and training camp, of just keeping their eyes open, and then you always have to be alert for if any trades pop up. I mean, you just never know the amount of phone calls that go in and out between organizations. It’s a lot more than what people realize sometimes, and we just have to be ready to be aggressive if we need to be.”

Adam Gase Talks Front Office, Bell, Darnold

Adam Gase was named as the Jets’ new head coach back in January, and we’re confident that the 41-year-old had no idea how the next few months would unfold.

While the team seemingly did a nice job of utilizing their draft picks and abundance of cap space, their front office is in a bit of turmoil. The organization moved on from general manager Mike Maccagnan earlier this month, and Gase subsequently earned the interim GM tag. Since that time, the head coach has made several notable roster moves, including his decision to move on from a pair of former draft picks (tight end Jordan Leggett and linebacker Darron Lee).

Gase recently sat down with Albert Breer of SI.com to discuss the organization’s search for a new GM, his outlook for the season, and his thoughts on some of the team’s notable free agent additions. The entire article is worth a read, but we’ve compiled some relevant soundbites below:

On his role in finding a replacement for Maccagnan:

Christopher [Johnson]’s making the decision. There are a couple of us that are trying to help put the right type of guys in front of him. And the biggest thing, you’re looking for a guy that has leadership qualities. … [But] that has to be both of us [as GM and coach]. We both have to do it. We got to work together to accomplish that. It’s been a while—eight years since they made the playoffs. It’s been a while.

“There are a lot of people here that haven’t experienced that yet.”

On the Jets signing free agent linebacker C.J. Mosley:

“His reputation is no secret around the NFL. People know. Eric Weddle actually texted me when we were in free agency and laid it out—‘Do whatever you gotta do to get this guy, this guy is a stud.’ [Weddle] had just signed with L.A., and it was great to get confirmation on the things we’d already heard.”

On second-year quarterback Sam Darnold:

“When you watch him just throw, anyone can watch him throw and go, ‘that guy can throw the football. I think the side that I didn’t know as much, and I’ve seen it since I’ve been here, is how competitive he is as far as learning football. He wants to be as good as he can be. He wants to be a great player. And you can tell by his work ethic, that’s what he wants to do. He’s not just talking the talk.”

On the addition of running back Le’Veon Bell, who Gase was reportedly against signing:

“I think he’s very motivated to do well and help this team win. And I think the more people keep talking, the more he keeps putting his head down and working. For me, I’ve combed through a lot of the things he’s done in Pittsburgh to make sure I really understands what he loves doing, and make sure we do a good job of building this offense, because it’s very fluid and flexible, it’s chameleon-like.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Patriots, Jets

Having ended their veteran quarterback search with a Ryan Fitzpatrick agreement, after pursuing Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor, the Dolphins continue to embark on a rebuilding track. In fact, the word “tanking” came up during one of the team’s head coach interviews, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes. Chris Grier, as could be expected, denied the team will use 2019 to tank.

Often one of the most active teams during free agency, the Dolphins this year have parted ways with starters Ryan Tannehill, Josh Sitton, Ted Larsen, Andre Branch and Danny Amendola. They let Ja’Wuan James and Cameron Wake walk. This leads Salguero to the notion the Dolphins are indeed tanking with the prospect of being in best position to land a high 2020 draft pick and have cap space when that league year begins. As of now, early projections have the Dolphins at $107MM in 2020 cap space — second in the league behind the Cowboys. And with Dallas set to extend several young talents, Miami looks poised to lead that pack. Fitzpatrick has made at least eight starts in a season nine times; his teams finished with a winning record in one of those seasons. Sunday’s move lends further credence the Dolphins are targeting the 2020 quarterback class.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Rob Gronkowski has not given the Patriots his decision on if he will continue his career in 2019, but if the future Hall of Famer wants an extension, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes this cannot happen until August 30 — a year after his previous contract adjustment, per an NFL rule. Long dissatisfied with a contract he agreed to in 2012, Gronkowski would be entering the final year of that deal if he returned for 2019. The Patriots could approach Gronk about a pay cut, however, at any point this offseason, per Volin. Gronkowski is due a $10MM salary and to count $11.86MM on the Patriots’ cap. The latest word on Gronk’s status is a return for a 10th season is more likely than a retirement.
  • Conversely, a Tom Brady extension can happen at any point this offseason. Since the Patriots did not adjust their quarterback’s cap number via the unmet incentives last year, Volin notes they can extend his contract before the 12-month mark from when the team included those incentives. Brady’s deal appears likely to be adjusted, with the 41-year-old passer’s contract-year cap figure sitting at $27MM.
  • Dialogue about the trade that moved the Jets up to last year’s No. 3 overall pick began at the 2018 Senior Bowl, with Jets VP of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger approaching Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds that January about a possible trade, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Christopher Johnson emphasized the Jets focus on quarterback scouting in 2017, primarily Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. The Jets targeted No. 3 overall because their sources indicated to them the Giants were zeroing in on Saquon Barkley, Cimini adds. Gang Green put its plan B into action a year ago today after Kirk Cousins spurned them.
  • The Dolphins are interested in acquiring a fullback, which marks a change from recent years. Specifically, they are exploring the addition of Michael Burton, per Salguero. Burton was Pro Football Focus’ No. 2-rated fullback last season but only played 49 snaps, not enough to qualify for full-time status. Only five fullbacks did meet those standards, illustrating this position’s scarcity on most teams. If not Burton, a four-year veteran who has played in Detroit and Chicago, Miami may target another UFA blocking back.
  • Prior to LaAdrian Waddle signing with the Bills, the Patriots conveyed interest in bringing him back, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. The Pats kept an open dialogue with their swing tackle but were not willing to match the Bills’ offer, Reiss adds.

AFC East Rumors: Jets, Chung, Bills

Sam Darnold spoke with Adam Gase before the Jets ended up hiring him. The Jets‘ second-year quarterback said during an interview with SI.com he “interviewed” Gase prior to the team naming him as Todd Bowles‘ successor. Darnold and Gase share an agent, CAA’s Jimmy Sexton. Rich Cimini of ESPN.com wonders how much of a factor that was in the Jets going with Gase, positing that this connection should not be dismissed in tracing how the Jets arrived on Gase. CAA client Peyton Manning also called Jets CEO Christopher Johnson to endorse Gase, Cimini notes. Gase was Manning’s OC for two years in Denver. A previous report indicated Gase’s interview distinguished him from the other candidates. Gase and Darnold will now go about attempting to revive the Jets.

On the first of many Sundays without NFL games, here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Although Isaiah Crowell set the Jets’ single-game rushing record with a 219-yard performance against the Broncos in October, Cimini does not expect the team to keep the veteran running back around for 2019. Crowell tied his career-high yards-per-carry figure with 4.8 but only amassed 685 rushing yards last season. The Jets can save $3MM by releasing Crowell before March 15, when $2MM of his $4MM 2019 base salary becomes guaranteed. The Jets have been the team most linked to Le’Veon Bell, and the team now has $99MM-plus in cap space.
  • Patrick Chung recently underwent surgery to repair a broken forearm, but the Patriots safety will go back under the knife soon. Chung will undergo an additional procedure to address a shoulder issue that bothered him during the season, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports (subscription required). It’s the shoulder issue, and not the forearm break, that is expected to sideline Chung for a while. The 31-year-old defender is not expected to participate in Patriots OTAs or minicamp.
  • The Patriots are going to have to make moves to address their wide receiver situation. Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson are UFAs-to-be, and Josh Gordon‘s return should not be considered likely at this point. Hogan was a key contributor for the Patriots in 2016 and ’17 but could not re-establish himself as a reliable option down the stretch this season. Hogan finished the campaign with a six-target, zero-catch Super Bowl after compiling just 58 receiving yards in the AFC playoffs, and Howe expects the Pats to allow him to depart in free agency.
  • While there could be significant roster turnover in New England, with several coaches already leaving as well, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston notes this offseason is expected to feature far less drama than last year’s did. Last year featured more fallout from the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, a lengthy Tom Brady absence and Rob Gronkowski considering retirement. After the Pats’ latest Super Bowl title, their situation looks more stable, even if Gronk is once again pondering leaving the game.
  • The Bills made multiple moves in order to trade up and land Josh Allen in the 2018 first round, but Brandon Beane may be looking to move back this year. The third-year Bills GM said recently the team does not need to pick in the top 10, and Mike Rodak of ESPN.com expects Buffalo to engage in trade-down discussions from its No. 9 overall slot.

Jets Notes: Enunwa, Tomlinson, Offseason

The Jets signed receiver Quincy Enunwa to a multi-year contract extension yesterday, with the four-year pact coming in at $36MM (and about $20MM in guaranteed money). The 2014 sixth-round pick out of Nebraska has spent his entire career with the Jets, and he’s excited to stick with the organization for the foreseeable future.

“I knew when I got here that I wanted to be a Jet for a very long time,” Enunwa told the team website. “Now, I’ll get my opportunity and it feels really good.”

The 26-year-old broke onto the scene in 2016, when he hauled in 58 receptions for 857 yards and four scores. He missed the entire 2017 season with a neck injury, and he’s appeared in only 11 games this year. However, he’s clearly gaining the trust of quarterback Sam Darnold, and Enunwa is confident that the duo will continue to improve.

“I’m excited for the future and for some more big plays,” Enunwa said. “And I think there is a lot in store for us as a team.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes out of New York…

  • The Enunwa extension was the “first big contract” that was negotiated by Dave Socie, points out Brian Costello of the New York Post (via Twitter). Socie was hired as the team’s Senior Director of Football Administration during the summer after previously serving in the role back in 2006. In this role, Socie works with general manager Mike Maccagnan on all things contracts and salary cap.
  • The Jets placed tight end Eric Tomlinson on injured reserve earlier this week, but it doesn’t sound like the 26-year-old suffered his injury on the field. Rather, Costello tweets that Tomlinson dropped a weight on his foot, leading to a pair of lacerated toes. The accident forced the tight end to undergo surgery, ending his season. Tomlinson had started 12 of his 15 games this season, serving mostly as a blocking tight end. The former Texas-El Paso standout has 16 career receptions for 193 yards and one touchdown.
  • Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.TV believes the Jets should be prioritizing experience as they search for a new head coach. The writer opines that the organization “can’t afford to be wrong with their next hire,” as they’ll be risking Darnold’s formative seasons. Fortunately, Vacchiano believes Maccagnan and CEO Christopher Johnson recognize this, as the team has already been connected to experienced coaches like Jim Harbaugh and Mike McCarthy. The writer also believes the team should give a look at former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell.
  • ESPN’s Rich Cimini writes that the Jets should use their draft picks and $100MM+ in cap space to build a formidable team around Darnold. Specifically, Cimini says the team should make a “serious run” at running back Le’Veon Bell, and he also lists offensive line, receiver, and edge rusher as positions of need. The writer also suggests shopping defensive end Leonard Williams, who is set to earn $14.2MM next season.

Sam Darnold Expected To Start In Week 14

Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold is expected to start against the the Bills after Sunday after missing New York’s last three games with a foot sprain, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Head coach Todd Bowles declined to officially name Darold his Week 14 starter, but that’s believed to be the Jets’ plan.

Per Rapoport, the Jets have been delicately handling Darnold’s recovery, and he probably could have played in Week 13 if the club would have let him. However, New York is taking a cautious approach with its first-round signal-caller, just as the Bears have done recently with their young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Chicago already essentially has a playoff spot locked up and didn’t feel the need to rush Trubisky back, while the Jets are in the midst of a lost campaign and thus didn’t intend to deploy Darnold until he was fully healthy.

Gang Green sent their own first-rounder and three second-round picks to the Colts this spring in order to acquire the No. 3 overall selection, which they subsequently used on Darnold. While it’s fair to question the talent around him, Darnold hasn’t been great so far, as he ranks dead last among NFL quarterbacks in passer rating, interception, and adjusted net yards per attempt.

After facing the Bills on Sunday, Darnold and the Jets will close out the 2018 season with the Texans, Packers, and Patriots.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Jets, Browns, Harris, Ravens

Mike McCarthy may well have options going into this coming hiring period, but the Jets might not be a great fit. The status of GM Mike Maccagnan will likely be a deterrent for a coach with other options — in the likely event Todd Bowles is fired soon — multiple NFL executives told Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv. The New York GM has just one more season remaining on his deal and is not expected to follow Bowles out the door. A lame-duck decision-maker could spook McCarthy. With former Packers execs John Dorsey, Alonzo Highsmith and Eliot Wolf in Cleveland, many people around the league believe McCarthy will end up with the Browns, Vacchiano notes. The Browns also have a young quarterback and are projected to possess more than $86MM in cap space. While that’s not on the Jets’ level ($106MM-plus), Vacchiano adds McCarthy is known as being a bit sensitive to criticism. That might be an issue in jumping from the league’s smallest market to its biggest.

Here’s more from the Jets and the latest from the AFC:

  • Josh McCown received another start for the Jets on Sunday, doing so despite Sam Darnold being at or close to 100 percent. The rookie quarterback lobbied to play against the Titans during warmups, Albert Breer of SI.com notes, but Bowles stuck with McCown. Bowles would not commit to Darnold starting against the Bills in Week 14, but Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports Darnold showed he was healthy in practice and will likely return Sunday.
  • On the subject of possible quarterback switches, the Ravens may be able to put off their decision for another week. Joe Flacco was not moving too well this week, walking with a noticeable limp, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets. While the Ravens could be forced into a choice of benching Lamar Jackson (3-0 as a starter) and returning to Flacco for a pivotal game in Kansas City, this call might be tabled. The possibility of Flacco returning as the starter at some point this month is not out of the question, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, but Jackson may see more work off the bench than he previously did when Flacco was healthy. The difficult prospect of preparing for the quarterbacks’ disparate skill sets intrigues John Harbaugh, per Rapoport, so the Ravens may keep it quiet if they do intend to pivot back to Flacco.
  • Although the Broncos improved to 6-6 Sunday, it came at a cost. Denver lost one of its top players in Chris Harris to a fractured fibula. However, the All-Pro cornerback is not going to be placed on IR and has a goal of returning before a potential playoff game. The eighth-year defender wants to return by Week 17, when the Broncos play the Chargers in what could be a key game — if Denver wins out and receives help — for Vance Joseph‘s team. “I always heal fast,” Harris told Aric DiLalla of DenverBroncos.com.“I’ve got the right people around me to help me get back fast and I’ll work night and day to get back. My goal is three weeks, but they said four. My goal is three weeks because I want to play against [the Chargers].” Harris’ other notable injury (a torn ACL) came against the Chargers in a 2013 divisional playoff game, but the corner returned by Week 1 in 2014.
  • By intercepting three passes, Harris already cashed in $200K of the incentive package he agreed to in the offseason. But another key financial bump is tied to playing time. Despite standing to miss perhaps the rest of the regular season, Harris can still earn an additional $300K if his 736 snaps end up being 65 percent of Denver’s season total, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic notes (subscription required), adding that scenario is in play.

Jets Planning To Start Josh McCown In Week 13

The Jets are preparing to roll with veteran quarterback Josh McCown once again in Week 13 vs. the Titans, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets

Though rookie quarterback Sam Darnold is close to a return, Rapoport hears from sources the Jets want to make sure their signal-caller of the future is 100% when he returns to the field. He adds Darnold might work out pregame to try to convince them otherwise, but the 17-year veteran McCown is more than likely to get the nod.

The USC product has been out of action after suffering a significant sprain to his right foot in Week 9 vs. the Dolphins. In his stead, McCown has completed 54.4 percent of his passes for 411 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions in two starts against the Bills and Patriots, both New York losses.

Darnold started the season hot, leading the Jets to a 48-17 win over Detroit in Week 1 when he became the youngest quarterback in years to start a season opener. It has been downhill since then, and he had amassed a league-high 14 interceptions at the time of his injury.

At 3-8 and in last place in the AFC East, there is no reason for the Jets to rush back their franchise quarterback to the fold.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Notes: Maccagnan, Bowles, Anderson, Darnold

If the Jets’ season continues to go the way it has gone so far, it’s very likely that head coach Todd Bowles will be fired after the season. GM Mike Maccagnan is apparently in far better shape with ownership, and “all indications” are that “Maccagnan will survive this mess of a season and get a chance to finish his rebuilding project”, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. While Maccagnan seems like a heavy favorite to survive, Cimini writes that it’s unclear exactly how much power he’ll have.

Cimini writes that it’s an open question whether or not Maccagnan will get to be the one who hires New York’s next head coach, and notes that the pairing of Bowles and Maccagnan was an “arranged marriage” from ownership. For what it’s worth, Cimini thinks the Jets will “add a couple of years to Maccagnan’s deal” if they keep him, so it doesn’t send the impression that the GM has less job security than the new coach. While Maccagnan will hang on by the skin of his teeth, the way everyone is talking now it seems like a foregone conclusion that Bowles’ days are numbered.

Here’s more from New York:

  • Robby Anderson is a very talented young receiver, but has dealt with multiple off-field incidents as well as injuries this season, so Cimini thinks he might not be long for the team. Anderson will be a restricted free agent this offseason, and while Cimini expects the Jets to tender him, he thinks they might look to trade him next offseason. He mentions the Eagles as a possible trade destination, and notes that the Eagles “tried to pry him away” from the Jets at the trade deadline. He also thinks the team might just let him walk if a team signs him to a huge offer sheet this spring. It was reported earlier this week that the Jets are trying to get an extension done with fellow receiver Quincy Enunwa, and it seems like the team definitely values Enunwa more than Anderson moving forward.
  • Sam Darnold isn’t playing today against the Patriots, and it looks like he might not play next week either. While Darnold could still possibly return in Week 13, “the following week is more likely”, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport writes that the Jets want to take it easy on Darnold and make sure he’s 100 percent healthy before returning. The team isn’t going to rush him back, so it’ll likely be Josh McCown again next week against the Titans.

Jets’ Sam Darnold To Miss Week 12

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold won’t be able to go in Week 12 against the Patriots, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. With the rookie sidelined, veteran Josh McCown will start once again.

McCown’s last outing against the Bills was one to forget. The 39-year-old completed just 17 of his 34 passes for 150 yards with zero touchdowns against two interceptions as Gang Green lost 41-10.

Of course, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the No. 3 overall pick either. Darnold has flashed at times, but he leads the NFL with 14 interceptions and tossed four picks against the Dolphins in Week 9. The 3-7 Jets are pretty much out of playoff contention, so there’s little sense in endangering Darnold as he recovers from a nagging foot injury.

Naturally, the 7-3 Patriots are heavily favored in Sunday’s matchup. The line could skew even further towards New England now that McCown has been confirmed as the club’s starter.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.