In a statement echoing Detroit's sentiments towards their erstwhile quarterback Matthew Stafford, Douglas opened up about the deal that sent the Jets' young stud Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers. In spite of potentially creating millions of angry Jet fans with blunt talk, Douglas was brutally honest:
“Whether I look bad or not [for trading Darnold], I could give two s—s about that…I know that he’s gonna have success. The timing didn’t really work out for him here (with the Jets). We couldn’t turn this around fast enough for him. And that’s not his fault. I root for good people, and that dude’s a good man, and he’s gonna do good things. I believe that.”
Regardless of his reasons for doing so, it looks like from this statement that Joe Douglas felt that it was time to move on. Darnold is still young, and is just entering his fourth season in the NFL, but after three long years toiling under the Adam Gace regime with the Jets, it makes sense that he would be damaged goods, regardless of whose fault it is.
To say that your best effort was a forgettable 7-9 season with the Jets is not the signal of greatness, especially since whatever optimism that brought was instantly obliterated by going 2-14 the following season.
Darnold has a lot of talent, even though the Jets never worked for him. There was a reason why he was rated as the number one quarterback in his draft class, which included Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, and Josh Allen. It all goes to show that coaching and environment really do matter. That's why the Lions were excited for Matthew Stafford's sake, and that's why Douglas will be rooting for Darnold as well.
For all their bravado in the ‘hunt' for multiple high-value draft picks, it is notable that New York got a sort of modest haul from Carolina. It stands to reason, then, that Darnold really does have a fan on the Jets.
Even if he'll be rooting from far away.