The New York Jets have a big decision to make next week regarding their first round pick. Well, it’s really two decisions: who should they select in the first round and should they trade back. While many an article has been written about the former decision, there hasn’t been too much discussion as to what kind of trade the Jets can expect to be offered if they trade back in the first round, despite the fact that rumors have been swirling around Mike Maccagnan recently that suggest he’s “antsy” to trade back.
I suppose the reasons for this lack of discourse are many (it’s not as interesting as talking about top-ten draft prospects, harder to predict what kind of trades will happen etc.), but here I’ll take a look at three possible teams that the Jets might trade back with in the first round and what the Jets might be able to expect to get in return.
The first basic assumption I’m going to make is that these teams are going to trade up in order to get a quarterback. This places limits on the almost-infinite number of trades that (in theory) can occur on draft day. However, this assumption isn’t presumptuous as it is likely that all the top quarterback prospects will be available when the Jets go on the board and, with the general uncertainty (and divisiveness) regarding this year’s quarterback draft class, general managers with lower picks will be nervous and unsure whether the QB they want will still be on the board when it is their time to make a selection.
The teams I identify as most willing to trade with the Jets are the Cleveland Browns, the Houston Texans, and the Arizona Cardinals. Cleveland and Houston both desperately need a starter while the Cardinals staff certainly realize that their perennial play caller, Carson Palmer, may not even have a decent season left in him at his advanced age and the Cardinals’ backup, Drew Stanton, is not in any position to become their full time starter.
I think the team readiest to trade with the Jets will be the Browns. They have the most assets to trade and are probably desperate enough for quality quarterback play that they are willing to trade some of those assets. Although some recent rumors have them taking a quarterback with the first overall pick, I think that this is just pre-draft smokescreen, a move very typical of all organizations around the NFL.
The Browns will draft Myles Garret 1st overall. If they don’t, then I guess they truly are the Browns.
But assuming, like most analysts do, that the Browns don’t draft a quarterback first, they will still be in the market for one once the Jets are on the board.
The Browns have the twelfth pick, so it wouldn’t be that much of a leap forward or backward for either team. However, with the chance that either the Jets or another team that could use a quarterback like the Buffalo Bills (with the tenth pick) select one, the Browns could certainly be considering a trade at this point.
So, what can the Jets expect from a trade like this?
Well, a move up or down in the first round by six spots, especially moving into the top ten, can be relatively expensive. Last year, it took a fourth rounder just to move from pick 11 to 9 for the Bears. That’s later in the round and only two spots.
I think the Jets could perhaps get a second rounder from the Browns for exchanging first round picks, which is pretty good. At worst, a third rounder, still decent, especially for a team looking to get young talent en masse like the Jets.
Honestly, the Jets could even get more than a second rounder, especially if the Browns get into a bidding war with another team that needs a young QB, the Cardinals, who hold the thirteenth pick, just one below the Browns.
The Cardinals will probably not be able to outbid the Browns, the Browns just have too much draft capital and a bigger need for a QB. However, if someone on the Cardinals feels as though one of the QBs in this draft will become their next quality starting quarterback, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Cardinals went as far as to offer the Jets a first rounder next year to swap picks.
I’d say the chances of this happening are slim given how scouts seem to grade these young signal callers, but it remains in the realm of possibility. In all likelihood, in a battle for the sixth pick between the Cardinals and the Browns, the Browns would win out.
Where this gets most interesting is the Texans. With a team that could definitely contend for a Super Bowl if they had even a decent starting quarterback, Houston is probably the organization most desperate to find a good QB this offseason.
Based on the fact that they didn’t acquire any new talent at quarterback during the first month of free agency, one can only assume that they will be looking to take a quarterback early in the draft. Unfortunately for the Texans, they have the 25th pick and, by that time, it is unlikely that their first choice at QB will be on the board, especially if they are looking to acquire Watson, Trubisky, or Kizer.
So it would make a lot of sense that the Texans would want to swap picks with the Jets. Even taking out the possibility of a bidding war that might drive up the price for the Texans, the jump from having the 25th pick to being inside the top ten might wind up being very expensive for Mike Maccagnan’s former employer. I can’t imagine the Jets coming out of this one without multiple second and/or third round picks (and some later-rounders to boot) if not an additional first round selection in the future.
Whether the Texans are desperate enough for a quarterback that they would make this move is debatable, but I don’t think anyone would be entirely surprised if a monster move like this was made while the Jets are on the clock.
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