New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas hasn’t been shy in the past about getting creative to improve his roster.
With that in mind, the Jets should get creative once again this offseason to fill a variety of holes that remain on the roster.
Four Veterans the Jets Should Pursue via Trade
JC Jackson, cornerback, New England Patriots
Douglas has proven in the past he’s not afraid of trading within the division if he thinks it’ll improve his football team. This is one of those rare opportunities.
Clearly, the cornerback position is a major question mark for the Jets heading into the 2021 season. Jackson could be the CB1 Gang Green has been searching for.
Jackson is a young (25 years old) and talented cornerback that has been insanely productive during his limited time in the league.
In three seasons, he has tallied 17 interceptions (including a team-high nine in 2020) and 30 pass deflections, per Pro Football Reference.
The Patriots defensive star is currently signed to a one-year $3.4 million deal by way of his RFA second-round tender.
In any potential trade for Jackson, a team would have to compensate New England with a draft choice (a conditional third or fourth may get it done). Plus they would have to immediately hand the young cornerback a fat contract extension.
That last factoid is why a team like the Jets could get this talented player at a relative bargain.
Looking ahead to 2022, the green and white have 11 selections in the NFL draft:
- Pair of first-round picks (their own and Seattle’s)
- Pair of second-round picks (their own and Carolina’s)
- Their own third-rounder
- Panthers’ fourth-rounder
- Pair of fifth-round picks (their own and Pittsburgh’s)
- Three sixth rounders (their own, Tampa Bay’s, and San Francisco’s)
That’s plenty of extra ammunition to pull off some aggressive trades like this one.
Three Other Names To Keep an Eye Out For
Let’s start off with a pair of intriguing tight ends that have been on the NFL trade block for quite a while that are worth doing some homework on.
Zach Ertz, tight end, Philadelphia Eagles; David Njoku, tight end, Cleveland Browns
While the Jets have a lot of bodies at tight end quantity-wise, they lack quality. Both Ertz and Njoku would be immediate talent upgrades over what Gang Green currently boasts at the position:
- Daniel Brown
- Ryan Griffin
- Tyler Kroft
- Trevon Wesco
- Kenny Yeboah
- Chris Herndon
Ertz is a former Super Bowl champion and three-time Pro Bowler. He’s 30 years old but still has some gas left in the tank. General manager Joe Douglas could hit up his old connections in Philadelphia to swing a deal.
It’s paramount that the Jets surround their rookie quarterback, Zach Wilson, with as much talent as possible. Ertz is a quarterback’s best friend and would prove to be a worthwhile addition.
If the Jets wanted to go with a younger option, they could call up the Browns about Njoku.
He’s only 24 years old, will be 25 when the 2021 season starts. Njoku is on the last year of his deal and the tight end room in Cleveland is a bit crowded.
An athletic freak with all-world talent, but just hasn’t been able to put it all together at the NFL level. Njoku should remind Jets fans of Herndon. They’re eerily identical players that perhaps could be a match made in heaven.
There’s a strong chance that they could push each other competitively to reach their full potential.
Finally, Time To Add a Veteran Backup Quarterback
Wilson is going to be the starter for the Jets in 2021, but who is going to be the backup?
The answer to that question can’t be James Morgan or Mike White. Those are two underwhelming players currently on the roster that lack the proper experience to hold down the fort.
Nick Foles is a potential trade option the Jets should consider. A veteran mentor that has been through it all.
Although there’s one other option that could intrigue folks on 1 Jets Drive: Gardner Minshew down in Jacksonville.
The quarterback room is crowded with Trevor Lawrence, CJ Beathard, and Jake Luton. Minshew could be had on the cheap.
A conditional day three pick could get it done via trade. Also speaking of cheap, Minshew has two years left on his rookie contract for less than $2 million.
The Jets need a competent backup more than anything. Someone that you can trust to come in a pinch to deliver on the field. Minshew is a wild man, but he’s proven to be a real player that can get the job done.