Oh boy. Sam Darnold remains in a tricky situation, one that has lasted too long. As the Jets move toward their fourth practice, Darnold’s future with the team continues to face ramifications, and it truly isn’t his fault.
The third overall pick’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, remains in dispute with the Jets over offset language. In short, Sexton is pushing Gang Green to agree to pay his fully guaranteed salary in a scenario in which Darnold is cut. The Jets, on the other hand, have notoriously avoided deals like these to protect themselves. Agreeing to such a deal could cause even further trouble down the road – giving leverage to rookies in future drafts.
Darnold has even expressed frustration with the contract dispute. He wants to get on the field and play. He needs it if he wishes to compete for the starting quarterback position. However, Sexton, at this point, remains unmoved. His pressure to get the Jets to agree to void the offset language comes off as an attempt to leverage himself as an agent. He likely realizes that if he can get this deal done for Darnold, he will have a major sticking point with future draft picks down the road.
(Part 4): I'm told that Sam Darnold is pissed about this. (Or as pissed as a really good kid can get).
I don't believe that the Darnolds will allow this holdout to continue much longer.
And good for them.
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) July 29, 2018
Darnold’s Unfair Consequence
Reports have surfaced that the Jets’ fan base may lose faith in Darnold as the holdout prolongs. Simple fact: they won’t. As Darnold continues to express his eagerness to get on the field and maintain a trouble free lifestyle, the fans will be behind him.
However, that doesn’t mean all will be good for Darnold out of the gates. The Jets have 7 practices left before their first preseason game. The longer the holdout continues, the less likely Darnold will suit up with the team. It will majorly impact his chances at being the Jets’ week 1 starter. Further more it tarnishes his potential to start at all in 2018.
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Attending practices leading up to the season is crucial for all players, especially rookies. And especially quarterbacks. While Darnold has had some time to work with his teammates in minicamp, training camp provides the experience to ultimately learn the offense front and back. It remains a major sticking point for coaches to understand who is the best to lead the team. It’s where all the competition goes down, and where players truly have the first opportunity to make a name for themselves.
It’s an odd scenario because at the moment, only Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater are take snaps at quarterback for Gang Green. There’s usually, on average, four to five quarterbacks taking snaps, providing relief time for the first stringers. If anything, Darnold should be in there taking 40-50% of the snaps at practice. He needs all the work he can get, and the Jets need to know what they’re getting and where he can improve.
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“From a learning standpoint, you want to be here as soon as possible,” Josh McCown said, according to the NY Daily News. “There’s no substitute for being here. The walk-throughs in the morning when so much teaching takes place and just these practices, where you can get reps. So obviously there’s no substitute for it. It’s just part of this business. You deal with it and move on…. When he gets here, he gets here. We’ll welcome him and get rolling. But until then, Teddy and I will hold it down.”
While Sexton remains at an impasse with the Jets solely for personal gain, it should be of notice to him that diminishing the reputation of a third overall pick is hurtful to his leverage. Sure, future draft picks may lean toward the opportunity to secure more money down the road, but is it worth missing crucial practice time as a rookie? Hard to say.
Many #Jets fans are disappointed by Sam Darnold’s contract impasse and camp absence, but remain surprisingly patient — for now.
— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) July 30, 2018
Stagnancy for Personal Gain
In the two-headed monster that is this contract dispute, it’s tough not to side with the Jets. Ownership has always been stagnant on doing deals that include offsets. It protects the team’s ability to recoup monies if a player is cut or released, while also minimizing overall backlash on the player. No, the Jets won’t cut or release Darnold before his fourth season (according to his rookie deal), but it’s a smart move that the organization has always made with their rookies.
And in that same vain, the other rookie quarterbacks (Mayfield, Allen) have gladly signed their contracts, which include offsets. Josh Allen was straight to the point with his agent that missing practice time was not an option. It’s unknown if Darnold made the same notion to Sexton, but if he did, it may make sense begin the search for a new representative, despite his valiant past. Because in the end, the agent works for the player, not the other way around.