Speaking on Tuesday, Jets GM Joe Douglas shed light on the decision to trade Sam Darnold and did nothing to quiet the buzz building that New York will take Zach Wilson with the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Noting that the team evaluated all options, Douglas said he is comfortable with the decision to trade Darnold — a move he said would likely not have been made if the Jets weren’t picking as high in the draft as they are.
“Ultimately we felt like this was a decision that was best for all parties,” Douglas told reporters via Zoom. “I could tell you guys as well that there was even discussion about us taking a quarterback at pick No. 2 and having Sam here for the season.
“And ultimately we felt that that wouldn’t be the best situation for Sam, the rookie quarterback, coach (Robert) Saleh and his staff, and the locker room. We felt like this was the best decision for the entire organization moving forward and hitting the reset button.”
With Darnold now on the Carolina Panthers, the Jets are set up to nab Wilson after the Jacksonville Jaguars take Trevor Lawrence at No. 1.
“We feel really good about this draft class,” Douglas said. “Obviously there is an unknown factor when you’re talking about rookies and young players.
“But ultimately the amount of work that our coaching staff has put into this draft class and the amount of work our scouts have put into this draft class — we feel good about the type of person we’re gonna be able to bring in.”
Asked whether he considered keeping Darnold and trading the No. 2 pick for a plethora of weapons, Douglas said yes. But he again came back to the strength of the quarterback class in the draft.
Douglas also said going with a young quarterback will allow the Jets to hit the “reset” button salary-wise.
“We feel really good about the draft class as a whole and the quarterback class specifically, (and) this was an opportunity to hit the reset button financially, so to speak.”