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Waiting game: Sam Darnold still a no-show at Jets camp

NEWS
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66   //    29 Jul 2018, 04:41 IST
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Still no sign of Sam Darnold.

The No. 3 overall draft pick sat out of New York Jets camp for the second straight day in a contract impasse that has already lasted longer than most expected.

Darnold is expected to compete with Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater for the starting quarterback job once he's under contract. But he and Chicago linebacker Roquan Smith, the No. 8 choice, remain the only unsigned picks from the entire NFL draft.

"I'm just worried about the guys that are here," coach Todd Bowles said after practice Saturday. "The guys that are here are going to play and we're going to get ready for the season. And, when he comes in, he comes in."

Darnold will receive a four-year, fully guaranteed contract worth $30.247 million, including a $20 million signing bonus — when he signs. But the dispute seems to hang on contract language.

One issue could be offset language, which if included could provide a team with a measure of financial protection if it cuts a player during his rookie contract. Not having offset language, a condition that Darnold's representatives are apparently seeking, allows a player to receive his remaining salary from the team that cut him, as well as get paid by another team that signs him.

"It's part of the business," Bowles said, insisting he's not frustrated by Darnold's absence. "You deal with something every year. I'm not disappointed. I have a bunch of guys out here to coach and get ready for the season."

The Jets' practice Saturday was open to the public, and there were a handful of Darnold No. 14 jerseys spotted throughout the stands. Fans broke into occasional chants of "We Want Sam!" during the 2 1/2-hour session.

"It's not my business," wide receiver Robby Anderson said when asked of Darnold's situation. "I'm not an agent. I'm not a coach. I'm not a GM. That's out of my control."

For the second straight day, Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater handled all of the offensive snaps — more than were expected when the Jets thought they'd have three quarterbacks on the field.

If Darnold continues to sit out, New York could potentially bring in another arm for camp while it waits on the rookie.

"We'll see," Bowles said. "We'll play it by ear. Right now, we're OK, but we have a Plan B and we have some things in place, so we'll play it accordingly.

NOTES: The Jets signed DL Shaneil Jenkins and released DL Courtney Upshaw, who was on non-football injury/illness list to start camp. Jenkins has had several NFL stops since going undrafted in 2016 out of Shepherd University in West Virginia, including Denver, Dallas, Seattle and Green Bay. He hasn't played in a regular-season game. "We had some prior interest in (Jenkins)," Bowles said. "The type of scheme we play, he's probably a better fit." ... WR Quincy Enunwa fully practiced without the red no-contact jersey, appearing close to being all the way back from neck injury a year ago that sidelined all of last season. "We'll take it day by day," Bowles said.

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