Joe Douglas, Sam Darnold
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New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas spoke publicly for the first time since sending Sam Darnold over to the Carolina Panthers.

The New York Jets lost a quarterback and franchise staple but have gained a world of opportunity.

That’s how general manager Joe Douglas is viewing the trade of Sam Darnold, who was dealt to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for three picks on Monday afternoon. With yesterday’s yield from Charlotte, the Jets now have 21 choices to make over the next two editions of the NFL draft, including 10 among the first two days.

“We felt like this was the best decision for the entire organization moving forward, and hitting the reset button,” Douglas said in his first public comments since the trade. “Ultimately, at the end of the day, we felt really good with the value and compensation we were able to get from Carolina. As we’re sitting here now, we have a lot of opportunity in front of us. … With that opportunity, we know we have to make the most of it and hit on these picks.”

Darnold’s tenure as the Jets’ franchise quarterback ends almost four years after he was chosen third overall in the 2018 draft by Douglas’ predecessor Mike Maccagnan. The previous GM was also responsible for the hiring of head coach Adam Gase, who has been widely criticized for his oversight during Darnold’s vital second and third professional seasons. Gase has since been dismissed for newly minted boss Robert Saleh.

With the trade of Darnold, Douglas will have his own coach and quarterback to lead the way, strongly hinting that the Jets would use the first of the aforementioned 21 picks, the second overall choice on April 29, on a thrower. Many have pondered that the Jets will use that choice on either Zach Wilson or Justin Fields, but Douglas insisted that the team is still working through “our process” and that there is “meat left on our bone when it comes to our draft process.”

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Douglas believes that the free agent acquisitions made prior to Darnold’s trade (receivers Corey Davis and Keelan Cole among them) will create a more comfortable situation for the incoming rookie quarterback, be it Fields, Wilson, or an unnamed third party yet to reveal himself.

“There’s been great conversations over the last few weeks and months leading up to this point,” Douglas said. “When you’re coming off a 2-14 season, there’s not a lot of things that did work. … There are a lot of people fired up about not only the talent that we brought into the building, in the locker room, but the caliber of character that we signed and brought into this locker room. We talk about those acquisitions, these assets we have through the draft, it’s incumbent on us to get these decisions right.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags


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