NEW YORK – Rookie Sam Darnold was late to training camp but still “has a very fair shot” of opening the regular season as the New York Jets’ starting quarterback, according to a report by ESPN.
Darnold is further along in his readiness than the Jets anticipated and although he still has work to do, he reportedly has impressed coaches so far.
After a three-day holdout over offset language, Darnold signed a four-year, $30.25 million contract and reported to camp on July 30.
Darnold, 21, was the No. 3 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Southern California. The Jets also have veteran quarterbacks Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater on the roster, and they’ve been trimming McCown’s reps lately in order to give the two younger players more chances.
Entering camp, coach Todd Bowles said McCown was the starter but that preseason performances could change that. Asked Monday if Darnold could realistically win the starting job, Bowles again pointed to preseason action and suggested the competition will take time to sort out.
“You have to play the preseason games,” Bowles said. “I’m not into hypotheticals and nothing that hasn’t happened yet. We’re going to let them play and, after the fourth preseason game, sometime that week I’ll make my decision and we’ll go from there.”
Nearly two years since sustaining a gruesome left knee injury with the Minnesota Vikings, Bridgewater impressed during the offseason and appears healthy, wearing a small knee brace for support. He told reporters Monday that he doesn’t expect any setbacks, despite some worries about him holding up to hits in games.
“I definitely feel like I’m good,” Bridgewater said. “With the training staff here, we’ve been definitely hitting it hard.”
With a chance at winning the starting job or being traded before the regular season, Bridgewater is not looking ahead, instead simply enjoying his time back on the field after a lengthy layoff.
Browns may sign Bryant
With Josh Gordon yet to report to training camp and Corey Coleman traded, the Cleveland Browns still have interest in free agent wideout Dez Bryant, according to an NFL Network report Monday.
Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the sides have had discussions and the Browns remain interested, but things are in a “holding pattern” on Bryant’s end as to whether or not he will visit the team or consider signing.
Browns general manager John Dorsey told reporters two weeks ago the team had discussed signing Bryant, adding, “I know what kind of person he is and what makes him. He’s a very talented player.”
Meanwhile, the Browns will make a gesture of good faith toward wide receiver Josh Gordon by moving him from the did not report list to the non-football injury list, according to Rapoport.