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Odds Favor Sam Darnold Being an NFL Starting Quarterback in 2021 Season

Bryan Thiel

by Bryan Thiel in NFL Football

Dec 2, 2020 · 11:05 AM PST

Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) reacts after throwing an interception during an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
  • Sam Darnold has battled ineffectiveness and injuries during his Jets career
  • At 0-11, New York has the best chance at the first overall pick in the NFL Draft and potentially Trevor Lawrence
  • Whether it’s in New York or somewhere else, see the odds for Darnold starting in 2021

Despite being in his third NFL season, there are plenty of questions surrounding Sam Darnold and his future.

From seeing ghosts and getting mono in 2019, to injuries delaying his progression, it hasn’t been easy for the former third overall pick. And that says nothing of the team that the Jets have surrounded him with.

But at 0-11, the Jets are eyeing the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. With the likely prize being Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, it immediately casts a shadow over Darnold’s fourth season.

Odds Sam Darnold is a Starting QB in 2021 Season

Sam Darnold to be a Starting QB in 2021 NFL Season Odds
Yes -275
No +190

Odds as of Dec. 2nd

While 2020 hasn’t been kind, it’s been especially rough on Darnold. To kick off the season, he was the favorite to lead the league in interceptions. Sportsbooks then began wondering in September if Sam Darnold would be benched, and even posted odds as to whether the 23-year old would be traded.

When it comes to his role in 2021, there are three big factors at play: Who coaches the Jets, whether Lawrence lands in New York, and where Darnold ends up if he has to move.

How Do Jets Reset After Adam Gase?

Logic dictates that it’s a matter of when, not if, Adam Gase is fired. That being said, many are still wondering why that has yet to happen.

In his second year with the Jets, New York has gone from 7-9 to searching for its first win. And Darnold’s performances, when healthy, have followed a similar trend.

Sam Darnold: Career Stats

Season G/GS Comp/Att Comp% Yards Yards/Att TD INT Rating
2018 13/13 239/414 57.7% 2865 6.9 17 15 77.6
2019* 13/13 273/441 61.9% 3024 6.9 19 13 84.3
2020* 7/7 128/218 58.7% 1242 5.7 3 8 64.0

*Played Under Adam Gase

Statistically, Darnold has gone backwards. 2020’s numbers played out over a 13-game sample size has him on pace for career lows in yards and TDs, and 14 interceptions.

And while New York tried to bolster the offensive line and other areas in the offseason, Gase’s roster has come up short. Joe Flacco has significantly out-performed Sam Darnold, but neither QB has a ton of help.

New Coach, New QB for Gang Green?

Five years ago, it seemed unlikely a top ten QB could get dumped on his rookie deal. But when Kliff Kingsbury opted for Kyler Murray over Josh Rosen, it’s now a distinct possibility.

And with New York likely having a new head coach in 2020, could Trevor Lawrence follow?

There were questions surrounding whether or not Lawrence would declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Many feel that Tweet from Clemson confirms he’s moving on.

The one thing that could throw this plan off though, is the 1-10 Jacksonville Jaguars. But New York still has the tougher remaining schedule.

Where Could Sam Darnold Go?

Assuming Lawrence is calling New York home in 2021 and Darnold wants a change of scenery, there aren’t a ton of landing spots.

The Colts, Bears, Cowboys, Patriots and Saints are all teams that could have starting spots available in 2021. But does a season spent tinkering with Darnold benefit any of them?

There are a few maybes too, but most teams are already set with a high-priced QB or a young arm they want to try to develop with starter’s reps. The most likely scenario for Darnold is to go somewhere behind a veteran QB and sit for a year, get familiar with the system, and re-appear in 2022.

The market just won’t be there next year.

The Pick: No (+190)

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