Sometimes you can see breadcrumbs leading to something that hints at what is about to happen.
Based on some recent New York Jets flirtations, there could be a stunning trade on the horizon coming sooner rather than later.
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Very Interesting Nuggets of Information
Throughout the offseason, the Jets have been connected to offensive line help.
That isn’t overly surprising as the Jets had an obvious hole at right guard and openly flirted with a potential swap at the center position if the right opportunity presented itself in free agency.
Where the surprise came revolved around the team’s interest in Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle La’el Collins. America’s Team began to shop him on the trade market over the last week and a report surfaced from Pro Football Network that the Jets would be interested.
On paper, the Jets have their two starters in Mekhi Becton and George Fant, so why would they be sniffing around Collins?
For the majority of his professional career he has served as a right tackle, where would he fit on the Jets?
On Thursday, March 17, Dallas ended up cutting Collins because they were unable to find a trade partner.
Shortly after that news broke, Todd Archer who covers the Cowboys for ESPN listed the Jets as a “team to watch” for Collins as a late free-agent addition.
Last offseason the Jets got lucky with the Morgan Moses situation. A proven veteran tackle was released in May and ended up being a perfect swing tackle and competition for the green and white.
This situation with Collins is vastly different.
He was cut two months earlier in the offseason than Moses was and has plenty of interest on the open market. If the Jets or any team were to sign him, they’d be coughing up some serious money.
This means if the Jets still have interest in that kind of player, even though they have options on their own team, that speaks to something much bigger going on.
Keep an Eye out on Something Crazy
If Collins actually signs with the Jets that could cause a massive ripple effect, but even if he doesn’t, the Jets’ mere interest in him suggests something is on the horizon.
Becton is in the midst of a critical offseason after two years in the league. There have been flashes of dominance, but also a pattern of injuries that is hard to ignore.
While Fant has been a pleasant surprise, he only has one more year left on his contract through 2022.
Either player could be potentially involved in a big-time trade. In the NFL there is never enough offensive line depth and a bevy of teams would be interested in either player.
While it would behoove the Jets to hold onto all the offensive linemen they possibly can, they also have the No. 4 overall pick in their back pocket that they could use on one of Evan Neal out of Alabama or Ikem Ekwonu of NC State.
With legitimate interest in both players, the Jets could flip one of Fant or Becton for a package of picks or players and immediately replace them in the upcoming 2022 NFL draft with what they believe would be a better, younger option long-term.
This is a fascinating game of chicken between what the Jets have versus what they could acquire. They’re going to have to make a decision sooner rather than later if they trust Becton to be the stud they drafted him to be or whether they’re willing to hand Fant a long-term extension to be their tackle of the future.
In other words, it seems unlikely the Jets would carry all three of Fant, Becton, and Collins (or a first-round draft pick) into training camp. That would be an odd use of resources for a team that has so many needs. Keep a potential trade tucked away in the back of your mind because it could be coming sooner rather than later.
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