Jets Could Benefit From Injury Setback, Sam Darnold Stands in the Way

Sam Darnold

Getty Former New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold stands in the way as an injury setback could benefit Gang Green.

Last week, the New York Jets received helpful news when the Seattle Seahawks announced that quarterback Russell Wilson would hit the injured reserve.

You see, the Jets have an extra first-round pick in 2022 and its significance is directly correlated to the Seahawks record. With Geno Smith starting at quarterback instead of the seven-time Pro Bowler, the chances of that becoming a top 15 selection increased.

This week on October 16, Gang Green got another beneficial injury update from NFL insider Adam Schefter as Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was also placed on the injured reserve.

As Schefter explained, that means ‘CMC’ will miss a minimum of three games, on top of the two he’s already been sidelined for.

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Implications of CMC Setback

Just before the 2021 NFL draft, general manager Joe Douglas traded away former first-round pick Sam Darnold to the Panthers for a 2021 sixth and 2022 second and fourth-round picks. That sixth-rounder was eventually dealt in a move to jump up and draft cornerback Jason Pinnock.

So far, that selection has been a bust but the major piece in this deal was the 2022 second-rounder. Once again, this future pick is linked to the Panthers 2021 record, which is where McCaffrey comes into play.

With the superstar running back on the field, Carolina was 3-0 and Darnold was being discussed in MVP conversations. Without him, the former Jets QB has been abysmal and the Panthers have subsequently dropped three straight games, crashing back down to a .500 record.

Heading into Week 6, ESPN reporter David Newton tweeted that Darnold’s “total QBR has dropped from 76 with McCaffrey to 31 without him.” There’s no doubt about it, CMC’s absence has impacted the ex-Jets quarterback in a major way.

The turnovers have also spiked without McCaffrey, as Darnold has been asked to do more on his own. The Athletic’s Joe Person pointed out that the signal-caller only had one interception during the first three weeks with five interceptions in Weeks 4 and 5. He added one more INT to that total in Week 6, on the first play of the Minnesota Vikings defeat.

The Carolina offense does not run the same without McCaffrey. He’s not just a dynamic ball carrier, he’s the safety net in the passing game and the outlet against the blitz. Darnold was sacked four times this afternoon and replacement running back Chuba Hubbard only recorded one catch for four yards. With CMC out there, these two stats probably look a little different.

To be fair, Darnold managed to put together a spirited comeback this afternoon in Week 6, but the Panthers still came up short in overtime after a slow start. During the first half, the QB had a 28% completion percentage and a 17.8 passer rating according to Pro Football Focus.

No matter how it happened, a loss is still a loss and that Jets second-round pick just became a little more valuable in the process. Carolina is now 3-3 and with McCaffrey out indefinitely, this losing streak has no end in sight.

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Joe Douglas Is Still the Master of Trades

Douglas has certainly made his mistakes since taking over as Jets GM, but he’s excelled in making the most out of his trades and he’s gotten a little help from other franchises.

Whether we’re talking about the Jamal Adams fleece, the Alijah Vera-Tucker bargain or the Chris Herndon return, the wiz of a general manager has phenomenal in this department. He’s also starting to turn a few of these deals into NFL talent.

We just mentioned the move to acquire ‘AVT,’ but the picks used to get him came from Seattle. The Leonard Williams haul has turned into players like Michael Carter II and Ashtyn Davis, while a Jordan Willis trade ended up turning into Shaq Lawson.

Darnold’s departure could still turn into an important brick or two in this rebuild and the probability of that is getting stronger by the day. Christian McCaffrey, if you’re reading, take all the time you need man.

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