The New York Jets opened up training camp on Friday and the one player not in attendance was the one generating all the headlines in the New York tabloids this morning.
Their first round pick from USC, Sam Darnold, is a holdout. The team is trying to work through the offset language of his rookie deal with his agent Jimmy Sexton, who’s no stranger to quarterback controversies, especially in New York.
Sexton was in a stare-down with the organization two summers ago, representing then starter Ryan Fitzpatrick and it appears the two sides are stuck in a tug of war once again.
Jets head coach Todd Bowles was asked about the situation following practice and initially kept it coy, as he tried to downplay the situation.
“It’s part of the business. We’ve got two other quarterbacks that can play too,” Bowles told the assembled media gathered at the Jets’ Florham Park training facility. “If he came and got hurt on the first day, we would have to play everybody else so we adjust to that and move on.”
After being pressed further, the Jets headman elaborated on his franchise quarterback.
“I’ve played, I’ve coached, I’ve scouted. It’s part of the business. It’s just another day in the office,” Bowles continued. “There’s no animosity there. It’s just the business part. When he comes in, we’ll get him caught up to speed and get him ready to go. So right now we’re just coaching the (89) other guys.”
Meanwhile, veteran signal-caller Josh McCown, who is expected to begin the season as the Jets’ starter, also weighed in on the matter.
“Obviously from a learning standpoint, you want to be here as soon as possible. There is no substitute for being here, the walk-throughs in the morning where so much teaching takes place, and just these practices where you can get reps.”
With the team currently in a stalemate with the Darnold negotiations, McCown split reps with Teddy Bridgewater, the former first round pick who is also out to prove that he too can be a starter in the NFL, after a gruesome ACL injury that kept him out of action for nearly two years—he knows what it means to miss time.
“You gain knowledge with experience. I was able to develop relationship with Sam over the spring and continued throughout the summer,” Bridgewater stated. “I look forward to him being here, when he gets here. I’m excited to have him on this team, I’m excited to be in the same room as him.”
For now, the Jets will move on minus Darnold, as they continue to haggle over an amount difference that is said to be about $750,000 in guaranteed money. Each day he misses, he’ll be further behind in the competition, a steep price to pay, considering the organization sacrificed three second round picks in order to trade up and secure their guy for him.
While no side should be overly concerned for the time being, it’s a bumpy start for both sides to begin the season to say the least.
Stay tuned as the NFL Draft Bible continues to monitor this situation with on location reports and updates from New Jersey.