Sam Darnold Jersey

The latest edition of the Jets Mailbag delves into why Sam Darnold – not Tom Brady – will be the best quarterback in the AFC East in 2019, the roster holes that remain, a curious free-agent signing, the Nick Bosa mirage and much more.

You predict Sam Darnold has better stats than Tom Brady in 2019. So, if that happens, do you predict the Jets will win the division?

My recent prediction that Darnold would indeed be the best quarterback in the AFC East in 2019 prompted Brady loyalists to claim blasphemy. How dare anyone suggest that any signal caller have a better season than the square-jawed, irritatingly handsome G.O.A.T … especially a soon-to-be 22-year-old kid on the Jets!!

First and foremost, let’s get something clear: Brady is the best quarterback that I’ve ever seen in my life. I used to be on Team Peyton before TB12 went into overdrive in the twilight of his career. Brady’s greatness and place in NFL history are undeniable. He is a stone-cold killer.
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That being said, he’s going to be 42 in August. As much as Patriot Nation believes that Brady will be dominating until death, the reality is that he is an old man by football standards. And old men – even football gods like Mr. Giselle Bundchen – get old men injuries.

He gutted through an MCL sprain for about a month (Week 11-15) late last season. Every objective observer will tell you that Brady absolutely didn’t play to the level that we’ve seen in the past regardless of what the numbers will tell you.

Sprinkle in the fact that his single most dominant weapon – Rob Gronkowski – will either retire or sputter through another injury-ravaged season and you have the makings of a clear decline for No. 12.
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Oh, sure, I know Brady still will be throwing to future Hall of Famer (INSERT EYE ROLL HERE) Julian Edelman, but losing Gronk will be massive. (Full disclosure: I’m a big Sony Michel fan, but Brady’s going to need a lot more help). I don’t believe that a 42-year-old Brady can carry a subpar-to-mediocre supporting cast.

The other part of the equation, of course, is Darnold’s jump from Year 1 to Year 2. It’s no secret that I believe that this kid has got the goods. He showed flashes of brilliance as a rookie despite a less-than-idea supporting cast.

Superstar running back Le’Veon Bell will help Darnold’s development immensely. Bell will be able to do for Darnold what Todd Gurley did for Jared Goff in L.A. New head coach Adam Gase will be a big reason why Darnold will take a significant step forward this season.
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Darnold’s successes – and most importantly, failures – as a rookie will help him immensely in his second season.

So, what does this all mean? Well, it’s certainly possible that Darnold will have a better season than Brady given all the dynamics at play. I know Brady lovers can’t envision Superman ever breaking down, but nobody would be surprised if Father Time finally caught up with him. Plus, the depleted supporting cast is a factor that cannot be ignored.

So, I’m sticking with my AFC East rankings for 2019: Darnold, Brady, Josh Allen and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
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Sorry, Bills Mafia. You got a running back behind center right now, but Allen can develop into a good quarterback.

Will Darnold’s ascension and Brady’s decline mean that the Jets will finally win the AFC East?

Stay tuned.
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Although there are some flashy names that the Jets signed, wouldn’t you agree there is much work to do?
There’s no debating that Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley will make the Jets better, but it’s naïve to believe that all of Gang Green’s issues have been solved.

They whiffed at center during free agency by letting the top two players (Mitch Morse and Matt Paradis) go elsewhere without every actually making an offer to either one of them. They weren’t nearly aggressive or fast enough to keep up with the Bills for Morse. They had serious reservations about Paradis’ health (broken fibula). A veteran center can help out a young quarterback more than most people know. The Jets, frankly, have done a poor job to this point giving Darnold a quality veteran under center.
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For Darnold’s sake, I hope they address the position in the draft. There are some quality Day 2 options at center. (They might have to acquire a second-round pick, however, to land one of the coveted prospects at that position).

The Jets also obviously need an edge pass rusher after they missed on Anthony Barr (through little fault of their own) and others. Oh, and they still need another cornerback, a true No. 1 wide receiver and better depth everywhere.

Speaking of depth, I’m still scratching my head at why the Jets gave offensive lineman Brent Qvale a 1-year, $1.4 million deal that included $550,000 guaranteed ($250,000 signing bonus and $300,000 of his $1 million base salary guaranteed at signing) plus an additional $1 million in playtime incentives.
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Qvale could have been easily had for the veteran minimum. He’s the type of player that would have been available for months too. And if he decided to sign elsewhere sooner, who really cares?

Qvale, who has 14 career starts in four seasons, didn’t exactly distinguish himself last preseason or in limited opportunities in the regular season (159 offensive snaps). Some might conclude that he was not good at all at tackle. The NFL minimum salary for players with his experience is $805,000. So, why did the Jets pay a penny more than that? He’s just a backup who is easily replaceable.

Since the 49ers traded for Dee Ford, does that leave the door open for Nick Bosa to drop to No. 3? – Oshie‏
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Don’t be fooled by Ford’s five-year, $85.5 million deal with San Francisco. Truth be told, it was among the worst new contracts for any top-flight player in the past couple weeks. In other words, the 49ers got a team-friendly deal that could easily turn into a 1-year, $21 million deal. The team will have the option to cut bait with minimal adverse financial ramifications if Ford underperforms (and doesn’t suffer a catastrophic injury) in 2019. They essentially can go year-to-year with Ford … and dump him any time.

So, I doubt this will affect their desire to draft Bosa if he’s still on the board. I would be surprised if the Ohio State pass rusher slides to the Jets.

Do you think the Jets are going to make the playoffs next season? – Michael Gause‏
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They better be in the playoff conversation, which means somewhere in the nine-win neighborhood. Christopher Johnson doesn’t believe in playoff mandates, but I’m sure he expects significant improvement from the five-, five- and four-win seasons since 2016. With the money doled out, he should expect that.

Our team’s young. Now how much do you value veterans and experience?

There needs to be veteran voices in every locker room. Look no further than Josh McCown’s influence and value to Sam Darnold last year. Nose tackle Steve McLendon offers similar value on defense. The Jets were smart to bring back McClendon on an affordable one-year deal. As Henry Anderson said this week, when McLendon speaks, everyone listens.
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I can tell you with great certainty that McLendon has rubbed off on the team’s best player in a big way. McLendon and Jamal Adams are locker room neighbors. The vet has given Adams lessons that the Pro Bowl safety will carry for the rest of his career … and life.

Oh, and McLendon is still a productive player in the trenches.

So, veterans are very important to this building process.

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