New York Jets: Could Trading Down in the 2018 NFL Draft be an Option? 2
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 31: New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan stands on the sidelines during their preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on August 31, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

The New York Jets will start their 2017 season against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. But perhaps they have their sights somewhere else?

New York Jets fans reading this headline likely have this reaction:

But hear me out.

The Jets are going to have a top-three pick in next year’s 2018 NFL Draft, barring something crazy. This is one of the most hyped quarterback classes in recent memory and a lot of teams are going to be clamoring to have a ticket to the dance.


By ticket, I mean one of the premiere picks in this draft. Already a lot of teams have prepared themselves for the inevitable chaos by gathering as many assets as possible. Look no further than the Buffalo Bills. Their shrewd trading has put themselves in one of the best positions to get their man next year.

Or did they?

While the Bills do have multiple picks in the top four rounds, they’re not bad enough to earn themselves a top pick themselves, which puts this team in a precarious position. It takes two to tango and who says another team will be willing to dance, regardless of how much assets the Bills wave around.

A lot of the teams that are projected to be bad have quarterback issues. So why would the Jets or any other team help out the Bills get a franchise quarterback, which there are few and far between of?

But …

You know there’s a but coming and there is right here. But maybe if a Herschel Walker-esque trade was available, a certain team may change their mind. To refresh your memory this is the haul that the Dallas Cowboys received in the Walker trade via NFL.com:

  • Minnesota’s 1st round pick in 1990 (21) (traded this pick along with pick (81) for pick (17) from Pittsburgh to draft Emmitt Smith)
  • Minnesota’s 2nd round pick in 1990 (47) (Alexander Wright)
  • Minnesota’s 6th round pick in 1990 (158) (traded to New Orleans, who drafted James Williams)
  • Minnesota’s 1st round pick in 1991 (conditional on cutting Solomon) – (12) (Alvin Harper)
  • Minnesota’s 2nd round pick in 1991 (conditional on cutting Howard) – (38) (Dixon Edwards)
  • Minnesota’s 2nd round pick in 1992 (conditional on cutting Holt) – (37) (Darren Woodson)
  • Minnesota’s 3rd round pick in 1992 (conditional on cutting Nelson) – (71) (traded to New England, who drafted Kevin Turner)
  • Minnesota’s 1st round pick in 1993 (conditional on cutting Stewart) – (13) (traded to Philadelphia Eagles, and then to the Houston Oilers, who drafted Brad Hopkins)

Three first round picks, three second round picks, and more. While the temptation of a franchise quarterback is certainly titillating. It would be for any team, let alone a team like the Jets who haven’t had one in decades.

But this potential haul in return could reshape the Jets for a decade. While perhaps no team would trade this kind of bounty some would say, you don’t have to look any further than 2012 when the then St. Louis Rams and Washington Redskins consummated a blockbuster deal via NFL.com:

Redskins receive: 2012 first-rounder (No. 2: QB Robert Griffin III)
Rams receive: 2012 first-rounder (No. 6: Traded to Cowboys), 2012 second-round selection (No. 39: CB Janoris Jenkins), 2013 first-rounder (No. 22: Traded to Falcons), 2014 first-rounder (No. 2: OT Greg Robinson)

Teams will do anything when they’re desperate and no team is more desperate than one without a quarterback.

New York Jets

So what are you saying?

Well, the Jets could remain in the top-10 of the 2018 NFL Draft and get an unbelievable bounty to rebuild this roster. Just imagine the Jets getting at a minimum three first round picks, on top of other mid round selections. From there, it’ll be up to the Jets to make the correct selections. Easier said than done I suppose.

So with this deal, the Jets could get another transcendent player, just not at quarterback, but in the backfield.

Saquon Barkley

The possibilities are endless. From scouts that I’ve talked too, Barkley is better than any running back that has come out in the 21st century. But why get a running back? Regardless of how talented he is, he’s still not a quarterback?

I get it, it’s a risky proposition that the Jets. They could be second guessing themselves for the rest of time if they trade out and the guy who gets drafted in their slot becomes the next big thing.

Or the Jets could be heralded for psyching a team out and tricking them into giving up a king’s ransom. With a star running back, a bevy of picks to put on the offensive line and spreading the wealth to other key positions, the Jets would be ready to compete — something they haven’t been able to say legitimately since 2010.

But we all know the Jets aren’t a quarterback away, which feeds my argument. Why not accelerate the rebuilding process by investing picks where they need to be: like a first round pick on the offensive line for the first time since 2006?

Rome wasn’t built in a day and there will be no exception in Gotham. I want a franchise quarterback as much as the next guy and wouldn’t fault the Jets if they told any team inquiring to shove it. But Gang Green would be foolish, to not at the very least, listen to all options on the table.

Heck, the Jets if they really wanted to could trade back into the first round with their treasure chest of picks to select other highly rated quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph.

Which wouldn’t be a problem with all the picks they acquired and could still get a talented passer to develop. At the end of the day, until these quarterbacks prove it on the field, they’re just hype and promise.

The Jets have drafted plenty of quarterbacks over the years and it wasn’t a lack of talent from those passers. It was a lack of development from the coaching staff. Now the Jets can right the wrongs of yesteryear.

I know this is an unpopular Jets narrative. Everyone seems to be looking ahead to the 2018 NFL Draft. Also, it feels somewhat disgusting writing about an event that is eight months ahead of time, when it’s finally game week. But alas, it’s the life of a Jets fan.

Listen to “The Jets Zone: Roster Cuts Preview + Final thoughts before season opener” on Spreaker.

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