Analyzing 3 scenarios for the Jets if they end up with No. 2 pick in 2021 NFL Draft
Sam Darnold versus Rams
The only redeemable trait of that miserable season for the Jets was that they were staring at one of the best quarterback prospects to hit the NFL in decades. The 0-16 pain would result in a rebirth with Trevor Lawrence.
What are the jets doing now?
The likelihood of them reaching number 1 overall in the 2021 NFL draft, and thus the likely rights to the touted Clemson quarterback, shrank dramatically with their shocking 23:20 win in Los Angeles on Sunday. It's still possible if they lose and finish 1-15, as long as the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-13) can take a win in the next two weeks.
But since the Jaguars are as bad as the Jets, the odds are not good, which means the Jets will most likely come in second on April 29th. And with Lawrence's simple choice in this case, certainly off the table, there are many options as to what to do next.
It could even mean adding a few more years to the Sam Darnold era.
Here's a look at some of the # 2 jet options that GM Joe Douglas will have to think a lot about over the next four months:
Keep Sam Darnold and draw a gun for him
It's easy to forget that Darnold is only 23 years old and this is only his third NFL season. It's also entirely possible that his struggles are directly related to the poor cast that includes his head coach. There are many in the NFL who believe Darnold will thrive in the right situation. Douglas could create that situation with the Jets.
However, keeping it would have some financial consequences. He's under contract for one more season, but the Jets would now also have to exercise his option for the fifth year for 2022 this spring at a fully guaranteed price of about $ 23 million, otherwise he'd end up being a free agent next year . That would buy them at least some time before they make the huge decision of whether to give him the kind of mega-expansion that franchise quarterbacks get.
This isn't ideal as it makes sense to restart the finance clock with a rookie quarterback. But they'd be fine if Darnold proves he's the guy they always thought was.
And in that scenario, they'd get Darnold what he needs most, too - a # 1 recipient. They might make second choice for Ja'Marr Chase, LSU's next big recipient who made a ridiculous 84 catches for 1,780 a year ago Had yards and 20 touchdowns before deciding to end the 2020 season. Put the 6-foot 208 pounder on the field with Denzel Mims, and maybe leave Jamison Crowder in the slot and they have what it takes to be a dynamic assault.
You could then concentrate your money for free agents on another position of need.
By the way, they could do this and pass a gun down and use the number 2 at Oregon against Penei Sewell, a 6-6, 330-pounder who is considered the best lineman on draft. Put him on the other end of Mekhi Becton and Darnold will be well protected for the rest of his Jets career.
Keep Sam Darnold and swap number 2
In addition to Lawrence, there are other quarterbacks in this draft and a few other teams that are in dire need of one - either now or for the future. And most of them pick outside the top 10.
And when teams are desperate for a quarterback, the price of a trade tends to get extremely high.
This is good / bad news for the Jets when it comes to making a choice. The good news is that they can get a huge ransom. For example, Cleveland got first, second, third, and fourth places from Philadelphia to swap places in the 2016 draft when the Eagles moved up from 8th to 2nd to draw Carson Wentz.
That could be huge for a recovery team. But the bad news is that Douglas may not want to go too far in the draft, and it doesn't get many teams in the top 10 in desperate need of a quarterback. Because of this, and the fact that there may be four top 10 quarterbacks available, teams may not be willing to pay to jump to second place.
However, if they can find a willing partner, it could be tempting to a team already loaded with high picks in the next two drafts. Douglas has two picks for the first round in each of the next two designs and nine picks for the first two rounds of those designs in total. Adding more could equip the jets with good, young talent for years to come.
You could still take a second quarterback
Even if you like Darnold, there are good financial reasons to let him go. His cost is set to climb to over $ 20 million in 2022, and that could double if they extend his contract through 2023. A rookie quarterback, on the other hand, would only be on the books for a fraction of that by 2024.
And while there's no Lawrence, there are others that Scouts believe will make it into the top 15, possibly even the top 10.
Justin Fields, of the US state of Ohio, is generally considered the second best of the group and a likely pick for someone in second place, despite being said to be several notches below Lawrence on the prospectus scale. Zach Wilson had a big season at BYU and could jump into the second conversation.
There's also Trey Lance from North Dakota, although his situation is complicated by the fact that he plays in a small school that only played one game in a season shortened by pandemics. Scouts believe he needs time to develop, which makes him too risky for the Jets.
But if Douglas likes Fields or Wilson, they make sense too. He'd still have a second round of choice this year to add a gun for his young quarterback, and he'd have even more free agent money to fill in keyholes when the Jets are theoretically ready in the years to come to assert oneself.
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