FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets are keeping their quarterback plans hush-hush, but wide receiver Corey Davis said Tuesday that he signed with the team based on the belief that Sam Darnold will return as the starter.
“Obviously, I’m coming with my understanding that Sam is the guy,” Davis said in a Zoom call with reporters. “That doesn’t scare me away at all. I’ve seen Sam do great things, and I have all the belief in him. Whatever direction they decide to go, it’s on me to make sure that I’m ready.”
Darnold’s uncertain status is one of the biggest questions of the NFL offseason.
Publicly, the Jets have been noncommittal, saying they’re open to listening to trade inquiries. In fact, several teams have called. New York also holds the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft, where it could select Darnold’s replacement. BYU’s Zach Wilson is thought to be the leading contender.
Davis, who signed a three-year, $37.5 million contract, said he’s eager to play with Darnold, the NFL’s lowest-rated passer in 2020.
“He’s obviously a great leader,” Davis said of the third overall pick in 2018. “I’ve heard a few things just talking to guys on the team. I’m looking forward to playing with him. He’s a competitor. Obviously, we can both learn from each other. He’s young, and we’re both growing. We can grow together.”
The Jets have been so secretive about their strategy that it’s unlikely they spelled out a definitive plan to Davis during the recruiting process. It helps them to keep everybody guessing, creating leverage in trade talks.
One scenario under consideration is keeping Darnold and trading the second pick to a quarterback-needy team, scoring extra draft capital. The Jets also own the 23rd and 34th picks, and general manager Joe Douglas could be looking for more picks to fill multiple holes on the roster.
Recent free-agent moves suggest the Darnold market could be drying up, as the Chicago Bears and Washington Football Team — both thought to be potential suitors — signed Andy Dalton and Ryan Fitzpatrick, respectively.
Davis made it clear: He expects to be catching balls from Darnold in the fall.
“Yes, that’s my understanding,” he said. “Correct.”
Davis, the No. 5 pick in 2017, had a disappointing run with the Tennessee Titans, but he’s coming off his best season — 65 catches for 984 yards.
He was overshadowed by A.J. Brown, but he believes he’s a No. 1 receiver.
“I do consider myself a Wide Receiver 1 …” he said. “I feel like I can do it all. I feel like I’m a 1,000-yard receiver.”