Around the League: Darnold to Start, Bridgewater to New Orleans, Optimistic Rams, More

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Around the League: Darnold to Start, Bridgewater to New Orleans, Optimistic Rams, More

Chicago Bears

The second quarterback taken in the 2018 NFL Draft is in line to be the first to start.

NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reports the New York Jets will install Sam Darnold as the team’s Week 1 starter at quarterback. The Jets traded up to the No. 3 overall pick with their eyes on a potential franchise-changing signal caller and they’re hoping it’s Darnold.

First up for the rookie from USC, the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football. Go get ’em, kid. You’ll have the whole NFC North rooting for ya (at least for one night).

  • Darnold’s path to a starting role was cleared by the Jets trading Teddy Bridgewater to the New Orleans Saints. Bridgewater won’t be the starter in New Orleans (they have some fella by the name of Drew Brees … you might’ve heard of him) but he is a clear upgrade from backups Taysom Hill, Tom Savage, and J.T. Barrett. ESPN’s Rich Simini reports the deal will net the Jets a third-round pick.
  • I imagine the return of a third-round pick for a reserve quarterback with some upside is what Bears GM Ryan Pace had in mind when the team signed Mike Glennon to his free agent contract in 2017. Unfortunately, the Bears backed the wrong horse there. Good process, poor result. Moving on.
  • Chicago could see a rookie quarterback as early as Week 3 when the team travels to face the Arizona Cardinals. Sam Bradford is currently listed as the Cardinals’ QB1, but we all know quickly things can change for the tough-luck, oft-injured quarterback. So let’s take note that first-year Head Coach Steve Wilks has yet to decide on a starter for Thursday’s preseason finale, which could be rookie Josh Rosen. The UCLA product could use some work in order to get through some youthful jitters he might be still experiencing. Perhaps he could lean on third-stringer Mike Glennon, who knows a thing or two about what it’s like for rookies making their way up the depth chart.
  • The Bears and Bills don’t square off until Week 9, so Buffalo’s quarterback situation can change several times between now and then. Just know that rookie Josh Allen is in for a heck of a test early in his career if he opens up the season as the team’s starter:

  • While the Oakland Raiders-Khalil Mack saga continues, the Los Angeles Rams continue to be optimistic regarding the possibility of a new deal for defensive lineman Aaron Donald. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports that Donald and the Rams “remain on the verge” of getting a deal done, while Head Coach Sean McVay expressed an increased level of optimism that a deal will get done in short order.
  • Something will have to have gone drastically wrong for Donald not to be in the lineup in Week 14 when the Bears host the Rams. A Soldier Field showdown against Los Angeles’ NFC team starts a brutal season-ending stretch that also includes a home game against the Packers, as well as road contests against the 49ers and Vikings. That’s two teams that won their respective divisions last year and two teams expected to figure into the playoff hunt this winter. Have fun with that.
  • Free agent defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins has yet to find a home, which is somewhat of a surprise considering the regular season begins a week from tomorrow. The Colts cut ties with Hankins back in March, but there hasn’t been much interest since he became available. Hankins told SiriusXM NFL Radio he is seeking the best fit and shared a belief that he’ll join a team “pretty soon.” There was a time where Hankins could have been a potential target for the Bears, but the team has since fortified the defensive line with draft pick Bilal Nichols joining a pair of returning players fighting for a starting role in Roy Robertson-Harris and Jonathan Bullard.
  • Not (totally) NFL related, but I found myself being really into re-living the beef between Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.