Sam Darnold Mike Maccagnan
Robby Sabo, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan says rookie quarterback Sam Darnold can win the starting job come August, NFL Training Camp.

It’ll be a selection those within New York Jets fandom will remember for a long, long time—for better or worse.

Sam Darnold at No. 3 in the 2018 NFL Draft is that generational choice—the decision that’ll grant the quarterback-starving franchise that new organizational face or deepen Florham Park’s overall depression.

But will he have the opportunity to start right away? That’s the question haunting all fans at this very moment. The answer is yes.

Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan appeared on the Rich Eisen Show on Wednesday, reaffirming that the USC 20-year-old will have every opportunity to win the starting job come training camp.

“Nothing’s been predetermined one way or another,” Maccagnan explained, “There’s a chance for anything on the table. Nothing’s been sort of set in stone in terms of how we’re going to do this in terms of a firm time frame. But he’s going to have every opportunity and we’ll see how it develops going forward.”

“We’re going to basically expose him to everything,” Maccagnan said. “We’re going to give him the opportunity to go out there [and learn] the position. But of course our focus is not necessarily to throw him into the fire until he’s earned it.

“But we’re very excited about him and his upside potential. … He’s going to have every opportunity to go out there and hopefully fulfill every potential we see in him.”


The issue has reached heightened importance due to Maccagnan’s previous two quarterback draftees. Both Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty didn’t even come close to sniffing starting during each’s rookie season.

While Petty eventually worked his way into some playing time, Hackenberg has yet to take an official NFL snap in his two years.

New York Jets

Of course, the Hackenberg/Petty examples most likely boil down to overall talent and readiness, something Darnold may never experience. Still, the overall Jet-land vibe during the Mikey Mac era has preached patience and reasoning when it comes to the rookie quarterback.

It already looks like Hack and Petty were simply victims of each’s talent rather than an overall organizational philosophy that prevents rookie signal callers from immediately taking the helm.

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