Jets mailbag: The big looming decision on Sam Darnold’s future

You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Jets.

The Jets are clearly building for the future considering the draft and their future multiple No. 1 picks; my hope for them is still 2-3 years away. Which of the Jets “star” players could still be with the team in say, 2022? — Nicholas Dayal

Roster turnover is a constant in the NFL, particularly for teams that do not draft well. The Jets fit that category, as evidenced by them no longer having any players on their roster who were on the team before 2016. They only have one draft pick left from their 2016 class (Jordan Jenkins) and 2017 class (Marcus Maye). That is as bad as it gets.

So, projecting who will be here in 2022 is easy: not many of these players. The biggest question is quarterback Sam Darnold. That would be his fifth season, and his contract has a fifth-year option the Jets must decide on next spring. I would be shocked if Darnold did not play well enough this year for the Jets to at least pick up that option. They may even give him an extension. So, let’s start with Darnold. Others who could be here? C.J. Mosley will be on the team. By opting out this season, he pushed back his contract and will have guaranteed money left on his deal in 2022. Recent draft picks should be on the team, too — Quinnen Williams, Mekhi Becton and Denzel Mims. That is a short list. Joe Douglas has a lot of work to do.

Sam DarnoldAnthony J. Causi

Richie Anderson caught 88 passes in 2000 for a Jets team that besides (Wayne) Chrebet lacked skill positions. Think (Adam) Gase can get that out of (Le’Veon) Bell? — Ira

That offense did not have a lot of weapons at wide receiver, Ira, but it did have Curtis Martin in his prime. The key for Bell to get rolling this year is for the offense as a whole to perform better. That 2000 offense was 12th in the NFL, largely because of Martin. The Jets offense was terrible last season, and that led to fewer plays in the game and fewer chancs for everyone, not just Bell. If Gase can get this offense performing better and they have more plays in a game, Bell’s production will rise.

It seems like some people are writing the Jets off in 2020 because of the losses of Jamal Adams and C.J. Mosley. But the Jets have solid depth behind both players, especially ILB with (Avery) Williamson returning and (James) Burgess, (Patrick) Onwuasor, (Blake) Cashman and (Neville) Hewitt. Am I too optimistic? — Dennis

I’m not sure if that is the reason people are writing the Jets off, Dennis. I think even with those two players, the roster had holes. Now, they just lost their two best players. That is going to sting. I do think the Jets have some depth at inside linebacker and they like Bradley McDougald, who will replace Adams. But Adams and Mosley are difference makers. They have huge impact on games. None of the replacements are that level of player. The Jets will feel the absence of those two.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently tested positive for COVID-19 and a few hours later tested negative, not once but twice. It’s beginning to look like the tests being used are not entirely accurate. In light of this development, how secure should NFL players feel in camp/games that they are negative for the virus and how do you see this directly impacting 2020 season preparations for all 32 teams? — Paul

This is something the NFL and teams are worried about, Paul. It happened to Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and surely other lower profile players. The NFL tweaked its policy after the Stafford false positive, but this will remain an issue. Coaches are very worried about a key player testing positive and being ruled out for a game only to find out it was a false reading on Monday morning. It is something to keep an eye on.

Considering the draft picks that the Jets acquired from the Seahawks, if the NFL season was canceled due to the pandemic after only a few games were played, how would the NFL determine the draft order? — Michael Jeziorski

There are a lot of questions about the draft right now, both surrounding the cancellation of college football and if the NFL season ended prematurely. I am not sure how the NFL would handle it if its season ended early or did not start. My guess is they would have some kind of draft lottery and it would be watched by 10 billion people. Let’s hope we have a season and don’t find out.