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Jets GM Mike Maccagnan impressed with Sam Darnold, open to Teddy Bridgewater trade

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 8/20/2018 Andy Vasquez
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Sam Darnold has impressed Jets fans with his solid play through the first two preseason games.

And judging by general manager Mike Maccagnan’s comments on Monday, the organization is just as excited about their rookie quarterback. 

Maccagnan raved about the “unflappable” Darnold on WFAN’s Boomer and Gio Show. 

“Of all the young quarterbacks I’ve been around, I’ve been exceptionally impressed by Sam,” Maccagnan said. “Sam probably is at the top of that list.”

Darnold is in a three-way battle with Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater for the starting quarterback job. The 21-year-old rookie has gotten the majority of reps over the last two weeks and made his first career preseason start Thursday in Washington. 

Todd Bowles has the final say in which quarterback will win the starting job. But Maccagnan made it clear that he has been impressed with his rookie. 

“Every day he goes out there, he gets a little better,” Maccagnan said. “He literally just turned 21. He’s a very young person. But it’s all the stuff we knew about him coming out of college. All the stuff people thought bout him there. His personality, his work ethic, the way he handles pressure. … That’s the thing that’s probably impressed me the most about the kid. He’s been really sort of unflappable. 

“I’m sure he’s going to have good days and bad days, there’s going to be adversity. But it’s just watching that combined with the ability that we always kind of knew he had. It’s really exciting to see him develop and come along.”

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Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates said on Monday that all three quarterbacks on the roster have the ability to start. And Maccagnan left no doubt that the Jets are open to trading one of them before the season begins. 

“There’s nothing to stop us from keeping three [quarterbacks],” Maccagnan said. “There’s nothing to stop us from keeping two.”

Darnold is obviously untouchable, because the Jets view him as their quarterback of the future. McCown is 39-years-old and making $10 million this year, which would make it difficult to trade him. But Bridgewater, 25, and on a one-year contract could be attractive to other teams. 

There are still questions about Bridgewater, as he returns from a devastating knee injury. But he’s looked good in his first two preseason games. And if another team calls with a viable offer for Bridgewater, Maccagnan left no doubt that he would listen. 

“We feel fortunate to have three quarterbacks we really like quite a bit,” Maccagnan said. “Again, we can very easily keep three quarterbacks and if something were to arise, we can go with two if that’s the case.”

Email: vasqueza@northjersey.com 

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