For Joe Douglas, the hardest part of the Jets’ trade of Sam Darnold to Carolina was the phone call the General Manager had to make to the quarterback.
“The swallow-hard moment for me was just making that call to Sam,” Douglas told Albert Breer of SI.com. “You know how much work and dedication he’s put in the last three years here, how many rough situations he’s been through, and never wavered with his confidence. Still, when we had the call, I know in his heart of hearts that he feels he was the right guy to turn this franchise around. I just have so much admiration for how he carries himself.
“So yeah, when that phone’s ringing, you know it’s going to be a difficult conversation. But at the same time, you know it’s not, because he’s such a first-class guy.”
The Jets, under former General Manager Mike Maccagnan, drafted Darnold with the third overall choice in 2018 to be their franchise quarterback. Darnold lasted only three seasons in that role in New York.
The Jets will replace Darnold with the second overall choice later this month, with BYU quarterback Zach Wilson their expected choice. Darnold will get a second chance to make good in Carolina.
Douglas insists he will root for Darnold even if Darnold’s success makes him look bad.
“Whether I look bad or not [for trading Darnold], I could give two s—s about that,” Douglas said, with a laugh. “I know that he’s gonna have success. The timing didn’t really work out for him here. We couldn’t turn this around fast enough for him. And that’s not his fault. I root for good people, and that dude’s a good man, and he’s gonna do good things. I believe that.”
Darnold is only 23 and will have better weapons and get better coaching in Carolina than he did with the Jets. So this is his best last chance to prove he’s a franchise quarterback.