There has been plenty of speculation regarding the hierarchy of quarterbacks in the AFC East now that Tom Brady is gone. Although the New England Patriots made a splash with the signing of quarterback Cam Newton, the debate has largely focused on Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.
Both were taken as top-seven picks in the 2018 NFL Draft and are still in the midst of developing into bona fide, franchise cornerstones for their respective divisional rivals. Regardless, the Bills passer admitted during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he and Darnold share quite the rapport off the field, via Matt Parrino of Syracuse.com:
“I love being around him … Watching him throw and throwing with him has been awesome. It is a little friendly competition there and [I’ve been] able to pick some stuff up from him.”
Allen added that the pair keep an open dialogue as both friends and rivals off the field:
“We’ve been able to rely on each other … Just kind of lean on each other I guess and just throughout the year. Texting each other and just making sure like we’re both doing OK, and we’re both adjusting well to it. So we’ve kind of had similar situations and it’s fun to have somebody like that that’s kind of going through the same things.
“[I’ve taken] some things from his mechanics and tried to apply them to my game and vice versa … Just kind of picking each other’s brains as far as defenses and types of concepts that we’re running. We don’t get too deep. So I don’t know if my coaches [are listening]. But we don’t get too deep, but it’s fun to kind of talk to somebody who’s kind of going through the same thing.”
While their relationship may not be as contentious as fans hoped, it is easy to see why Allen and Darnold are kindred spirits in many ways. After all, they are part of a select group of players who have been tasked with turning the fortunes of their franchises around.
Allen has been the beneficiary of a better support system in Buffalo that has been pegged as the new favorite to win the AFC East in the 2020 NFL season. The Bills also continue to make moves to beef up his supporting cast with the acquisition of wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
Meanwhile, Darnold is still finding his rhythm amid the turmoil that has plagued the Jets franchise in recent years. However, there is no question about his vast potential under center should he find a way to improve on the more fundamental areas of his game.