FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold remains unsigned and was not at camp for the second straight day Saturday. Jets coach Todd Bowles kept his stiff upper lip on the quarterback’s absence, saying he’s still not worried about Darnold and is just focusing on the players who are in camp, as opposed to those who aren’t.
“It’s part of the business,’’ Bowles said of Darnold’s absence. “We deal with something every year. I’m not disappointed. I’ve got a bunch of guys out here to coach to get ready for the season, and that’s what we’re doing.’’
Darnold, the No. 3 pick in the draft, is one of only two first-round draft picks who have yet to sign a contract and report to camp, the other being Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith, the No. 8 overall pick.
The financial terms of Darnold’s contract are not the issue — he is slated to earn a fully guaranteed $30.247 million over four years, with $20.1 million in signing bonus. But the problem, reportedly, is the offset language in the contract, which apparently, Darnold’s camp wants removed. The offset language makes it so that if Darnold were to be cut during the term of the contract, and then sign with another team, the new team would pick up Darnold’s salary and the Jets would be relieved of paying that salary and having it count against their salary cap.
If the offset language is removed, then Darnold would be able to sign a deal with the new club and continue to get paid by the Jets — in effect, getting paid twice.
The No. 1 pick in the draft, Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns, and the quarterback taken after Darnold, Josh Allen, both have the offset language in their contracts. And Allen is represented by the same agency (CAA) that represents Darnold.
With Darnold not in camp, the Jets only have two quarterbacks, incumbent starter Josh McCown and challenger Teddy Bridgewater, and Bowles acknowledged that if Darnold remains out for an extended period, the Jets may need to sign another quarterback, just to relieve the workload on McCown and Bridgewater. The coach was not ready to say at what point he would need to bring someone in.
“We’ll see. We’ll play it by ear,’’ Bowles said. “Right now we’re OK, but we have Plan B, and we have some things in place. So, we’ll just play it accordingly.’’