Davis Webb
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

The New York Jets’ promotion of Davis Webb, a former New York Giants’ draft pick, more or less seals Sam Darnold’s Sunday fate.

Geoff Magliocchetti

The New York Jets more or less confirmed Sam Darnold’s deactivation for Sunday afternoon, as the team has promoted quarterback Davis Webb from the practice squad.

In a corresponding move, tight end Neal Sterling was placed on injured reserve.


With Darnold nursing a foot injury, veteran Josh McCown will get the start, with Webb backing him up.

Webb is no stranger to MetLife Stadium, having been drafted in the third round of 2017’s draft by the New York Giants. At 87th overall, Webb was the highest quarterback the Giants had chosen in a draft since fourth overall pick Philip Rivers in 2004. Rivers was subsequently traded for Eli Manning, who worked alongside Webb last season.

As the Giants’ season quickly got away from them, finishing with a franchise-worst 13 losses, fans clamored to see a glimpse of Webb, formerly of Texas Tech and Cal-Berkeley. Webb would end up dressing for a single game, the Giants’ season finale against Washington, but did not see any regular season snaps, as Geno Smith served as Manning’s primary backup.

Webb was released by the Giants shortly after training camp this summer and was added to the Jets’ practice squad shortly after. The Giants chose to keep 2018 draft pick Kyle Lauletta and veteran Alex Tanney as Manning’s 2018 backups.

As a member of the Giants, Webb, 23, threw for 283 yards and one touchdown this past preseason.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles confirmed earlier this week that if Darnold was unable to go, Webb would be McCown’s backup for Sunday’s home game against the Buffalo Bills (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS).

“If (Darnold) can’t go at all, obviously, we have plans in place to try to bring up Davis,” Bowles said during a press conference on Thursday. “We’ll just play that by ear.”

New York Jets

“It’s been a great (quarterback) room,” McCown added on Wednesday. “Davis Webb is a grinder, he prepares like a coach and he adds great value to our room as well.”

Darnold, injured during the Jets’ 13-6 loss in Miami last weekend, did not practice all week, his foot encased with a medical boot as he watched to the side. He had been listed as “doubtful” on the Jets’ injury report, released on Friday afternoon.

The Webb announcement came shortly after the opponent announced quarterback news of their own, as the Bills revealed Matt Barkley as their Sunday starter. Barkley, 28, was signed by the Bills on October 31 and will see his first regular-season action since starting six games with the Chicago Bears in 2016.

Darnold’s fellow first-round rookie Josh Allen (elbow) has been ruled out. This is the second time the Bills will start a quarterback with less than two weeks’ tenure on the team, as Derek Anderson started an October game against Indianapolis on Oct. 21. Anderson will likewise miss Sunday’s game with a concussion, leaving Nathan Peterman (one touchdown, seven interceptions in four games this season) as Barkley’s backup.

The Jets will lose Sterling in this transaction, as the fourth-year tight end had been already ruled out of Sunday’s game with a concussion.

In five games this season, including four starts, Sterling tallied 47 yards and six receptions. He played 11 games in two separate stints with the Jets last season, having joined Kansas City’s practice squad in between.

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