Numerous times over the offseason, New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas pursued a wide receiver that could profile as the franchise’s new number one weapon — either immediately or in the future.
They ended up with Ohio State playmaker Garrett Wilson but before the NFL draft was at the forefront of Douglas’ mind, he made a strong push in trade talks regarding former Kansas City Chiefs superstar Tyreek Hill. In a head-to-head pursuit with Miami, the Jets GM conceded the wideout after having some trouble working out an extension.
Although some fans questioned whether Douglas should have done more at that moment, it all seemed to go his way in the draft. Now, in hindsight, an NFL analyst feels the Jets may have “dodged a bullet” on the blockbuster miss.
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Character Doesn’t Fit the New Jets Standard
During an opinion column on Jets X-Factor, writer Rivka Boord noted that because of his continued off-the-field drama since the trade, it’s become clear that Hill “was never a fit for the New York Jets core values.”
Since heading to South Beach, the three-time All-Pro has appeared hellbent on proving his old KC organization wrong for passing on his price tag. If a player does that by focusing on practicing and dedicating themselves to football — great. If they do that by causing a distraction and airing out dirty laundry on a podcast — not so much.
All Hill has done since joining the Dolphins is create a media circus and while that can sometimes be good for business, it is not the new “Jets way” that has been created by Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh. Boord echoed this, going one step further:
There is an overlooked aspect of Hill that made him a curious fit for the Jets in the first place. Robert Saleh has repeatedly stressed his desire to bring character to this team. While Hill has kept himself relatively clean on the football field (peace signs notwithstanding), he has done anything but off it. A guy who choked and beat his pregnant girlfriend and punched his three-year-old son is not the kind of character the Jets want. While there are always teams willing to take a shot on a talented but troubled player, Saleh and Douglas have made it clear that the Jets are not among them. So what were they doing with the pursuit of Hill?
She also referenced his financial burden and all the draft capital that Miami sacrificed to acquire him, arguing that Douglas “could not afford to give up that kind of haul for a guy Hill’s age.”
“In hindsight… the Jets are better off without Hill. They went on to select three blue-chip, high-character prospects in the first round of the draft,” Boord concluded, and she might have a point.
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Garrett Wilson Is the Opposite of Hill
For every concern Boord laid out on Hill, Wilson appears to be the exact opposite type of personality and teammate. There is no “me” with the rookie, only “team” and “we.”
Just listen to the Ohio State product talk and it’s pretty evident, but there have also been multiple examples of his selflessness and humility since the draft. Recently, Wilson told reporters that he would be staying in the Florham Park area over summer break to get in extra work with the Jets training staff.
There was also the emotional video his father sent him after his selection, which preached things like high character and seeking greatness and respect over wealth and popularity.
Even the rookie dinner story showed Wilson’s bashful side, as the first-year WR couldn’t believe his upcoming paid positional dinner for his teammates could end up costing him a major figure like $75,000. The youngster was shocked on “The Pivot Podcast” with Ryan Clark and company, but he laughed it off as something he might have to do.
And finally, there was of course the draft night interview where Wilson explained his “humble over hype” bracelets. “I think it’s what I want to live by, it’s what I want to embody” he explained, “I feel like if you’re humble, that can take you a long way.”
The Jets may have lost out on Hill — reigniting a rivalry — but they’ve gained a talented young man with an All-Pro personality. Growing alongside Zach Wilson and Elijah Moore, there is no telling what this offense can accomplish.