New York Jets head coach Adam Gase did not draft Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold.
But if he would have had a chance for a pick with both players on the board during the 2018 draft, Mayfield would have been his far and away first choice, according to a report from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
Gase is now with the Jets after being let go by the Dolphins and the team will host Mayfield and the Browns — who took the former Hesiman winner No. 1 overall — on Monday Night Football.
Here’s what Mehta had to say about Gase’s fascination with Mayfield.
“It was the worst-kept secret in the Dolphins’ building. Gase believed that Mayfield, who rolls into town with the Browns for a Monday night showdown against the Jets, was clearly better than Sam Darnold, according to sources familiar with the situation. In fact, people in the know revealed that Gase had more of an affinity for Josh Allen than Darnold too.”
Mehta said that Gase was impressed with Mayfield’s zip on the ball and also gained admiration for future Bills QB Josh Allen.
“He didn’t believe that Darnold had star potential. He was no Mayfield, according to people familiar with Gase’s evaluations.
Although Darnold had highlight-reel moments by extending plays, Gase had concerns about the player’s ability to consistently win from inside the pocket, according to sources. So, he chose not invest any additional time in Darnold.”
Unfortunately for Gase if these sentiments are true, he’s now tasked with guiding the Jets to their first AFC East title since 2002 with Darnold under center.
Baker Mayfield Excelled During Record-Setting Rookie Season
By all accounts, Mayfield had a much more successful first year than Darnold.
In just 13 starts, Mayfield passed for a rookie record 27 touchdowns last season. The former Oklahoma Heisman winner also collected 3,725 passing yards and helped the Browns finish 7-8-1, winning five of their final seven games.
Mayfield’s resume also included a comeback win in his debut, which came against Darnold and the Jets in Week 3 last year in Cleveland when starter Tyrod Taylor left with an injury.
Darnold passed for 2,865 yards, 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his 13 games started.
Gase and the Jets will have to deal with to deal with a pissed off Mayfield in primetime. Last week against the Titans, Mayfield had one of his worst days as a pro in a 43-13 loss.
Mayfield tossed a trio of interceptions, on getting returned for a touchdown to put the nail in the Browns’ coffin. The game was the second-worst of Mayfield’s career in terms of QB rating, finishing with a mark of 64.0. His low is a 52.6 rating that came agains the Ravens in Week 6 last season. He tossed two interceptions and completed just 47 percent of his 46 passes.
Browns Installed as Road Favorite for Monday Night Matchup With Jets
The Browns enter their matchup with the Jets as a three-point road favorite. According to Odds Shark, it marks only the second time since 2015 that Cleveland has been a road favorite. And it comes on the heels of the blowout loss to the Titans in Week 1.
The Browns likely won’t have 18 penalties for 182 yards again, but there’s no quick fix for their offensive line, which has been ravaged by both injury and below average play, keeping Mayfield on the run.
The Jets have Le’Veon Bell to lead their rushing attack, but Gase’s squad managed to put up just 16 points in a one-point loss to the Bills last week.
The total for the game is set at 46.