The New York Jets have never been afraid of making a splashy offseason trade to spice things up.
While the current brass has flirted with a lot of different moves over the past few months, they haven’t pulled the trigger on one yet. The latest possibility could change that in a major way heading into training camp.
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A Golden Opportunity
There are a lot of different reasons why people choose to make trades in any given sport. One of the most popular is a player underperforming, being sold relatively cheaply, and seeing if a change of scenery can maximize their full potential.
There have been plenty of horror stories and bodies in the graveyard of this strategy flopping like a Saturday morning pancake. However, for every failed deal there is always a raving success story that drives you to find the next one.
That very theme leads us to Arizona Cardinals defender Isaiah Simmons.
He originally entered the NFL back in 2020 as the No. 8 overall pick in the first round. Simmons was heralded as an elite swiss army knife that a defensive coordinator could move around like a chess piece.
However, the collegiate success hasn’t translated to the pros:
- Two interceptions
- 159 total tackles
- 3.5 sacks
Simmons isn’t in danger of being cut this offseason, but his stock is down after two very so-so campaigns thus far.
That is a perfect time for another team to strike while the iron is cold. The talent is still there, but for one reason or another, things haven’t clicked for the talented former Clemson Tigers star.
A perfect pairing that would make sense is putting this dynamic swiss army knife in New York with head coach Robert Saleh.
The Cardinals could send the former first-rounder to the Jets in exchange for a conditional 2023 third-round pick. It would have performance incentives built in that could make it as high as a second-round pick in next year’s class.
On the other side of the coin if he continues to disappoint it could drop and become a fourth-rounder.
A Reclamation Project
Since Saleh took the head coaching gig with the Jets he has been searching for his version of Fred Warner. A former defensive back that converted to linebacker and became an All-Pro at the next level.
I’m not saying Simmons will be at that level, but it’s hard to deny the unbelievable talent that he possesses.
The thing that made him great at Clemson was his ability to do a hundred different things.
Lance Zierlein of NFL dot com described it perfectly saying he has, “a bachelor’s [degree] at three positions (slot corner, safety, linebacker).”
Although his greatest strength quickly became his greatest weakness in the NFL. With the coaches asking him to be a jack of all trades, he has become a jack of nothing.
It seems like Simmons has been overflowing with too much information and is thinking when he is on the football field which is leading to processing errors. If he could focus on a singular position or role perhaps we’ll see the same player that warranted a top-10 selection in the NFL draft.
Although it wasn’t just the versatility that made him so special, it was when you paired that with rare God-given talent: speed, length, and athleticism.
Simmons is still young at just 23 years of age (will be 24 by the start of the 2022 season). With two more years left on his rookie contract and a fifth-year option decision next offseason, now is the time to strike.
The price tag to acquire him should be relatively low considering his abysmal Pro Football Focus grades and lack of an overall impact thus far in his career, but it would be a low risk versus high reward kind of move.
If this were to pay off, Saleh would have his superstar on defense that he can build around. If it doesn’t work, then you simply lose a mid-round draft choice.
You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take and this is one worth diving into the deep end of the pool for.