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Two decades later, could Sam Darnold jilt Jets by pulling a Peyton?

After a short hiatus, the New York Jets mailbag is back. Naturally, our question of the week involves the quarterback position.

@RichCimini: In fact, this is the 20-year anniversary of the Peyton Manning blow-off. Diehard fans will recall the Jets had the No. 1 overall pick in 1997, but they never got a chance to consider Manning because he decided to stay in school. Maybe it would've turned out differently if Bill Parcells had promised Archie Manning that he'd pick his son -- they had two conversations before Peyton's decision -- but Parcells made no such guarantee, citing the league's anti-tampering rules. I always found that amusing. Since when did Parcells, who flirted with the Jets while under contract with the New England Patriots, worry about bending the rules?

Fast-forward to the present: We've already seen stories that Sam Darnold might stay at USC instead of declaring for the 2018 draft. He's staying. He's going. He's staying. He's going. The stories and the speculation will continue into January, when he'll have to make a decision. My advice to Jets fans: Don't get caught up in it because it will drive you mad. You'll have enough agita from the season, so there's no point in fretting over the whims of a 20-year-old quarterback.

Chances are it won't be a Darnold-or-bust draft. I talked to an AFC scout who believes Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen has better long-term potential than Darnold, who has attracted most of the attention because he plays for an iconic football school. With the New York and Los Angeles media markets tracking him, there's a chance Darnold will be overhyped, distorting his true NFL potential. The good news for the Jets is they probably will have other options if they wind up with the top pick and want a quarterback.

And another thing: If Darnold completes his season and is informed by advisers he could be the No. 1 overall pick, it would be a major upset if he stays in school. Yeah, he could buy an insurance policy to cover some of the injury risk, but would he walk away from a guaranteed contract worth north of $30 million? Doubt it. Sure, Peyton did it, but he was a rare bird. Maybe I have a myopic view, but what college star wouldn't relish a chance to play in the New York market for a quarterback-starved franchise?

If Darnold pulls a Peyton, yeah, it would be typical Jets luck. On the bright side, Peyton's son, Marshall, could be draft-eligible in 2031.