The New York Jets owe it to themselves to do their due diligence on every NFL player that could become available via trade this offseason.
With so many draft selections and an abundance of cap space, general manager Joe Douglas must be creative with how he maximizes them.
One way he could do that is by making another team’s trash his treasure in 2022.
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A Sneaky Guy to Keep an Eye out For
On the Flight Deck Podcast, Rich Cimini of ESPN was asked does he think the Jets will make a splashy move this offseason via trade?
He went through several possible targets but said a name to keep an eye on is Pittsburgh Steelers starting playmaker Chase Claypool:
“Even a guy like Chase Claypool in Pittsburgh. There are some maturity issues and I wonder if the Steelers would put him on the market.”
The second-year wideout has had a few issues since joining the NFL ranks back in 2020.
On December 10 Claypool helped convert a fourth and one play and instead of handing the ball immediately to the referee he posed for a first down.
The play started with 42 seconds left on the play clock in the fourth quarter and after posing for the ball and losing it, the Steelers didn’t spike the ball until there were just 24 seconds on the play clock. Pittsburgh ended up losing the game 36-28 to the Minnesota Vikings.
“Obviously, he had missteps in that area. He had missteps in other areas,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin being asked about Claypool’s error. “He’s a young guy that is growing and developing in a lot of ways. It can’t happen fast enough for him, can’t happen fast enough for us. We’re going to push that growth and development as long as he’s a willing participant. He has been, so we’re going to keep moving forward.”
Some of those other missteps coach Tomlin was referring to are likely the alarming amount of penalties. Claypool was second in the NFL among wide receivers with eight penalties this past season.
NFL Insider Jeremy Fowler joined 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh this week and from what he has heard he expects the Steelers to get “trade calls” on Claypool this offseason. NFL teams will be looking to “buy low” because of the maturity issues.
A Chance to Go Back in Time
All of this wouldn’t be necessary if the Jets simply drafted Claypool when they had the chance in the 2020 NFL draft. They had the No. 48 overall pick in the second round and decided to trade back to No. 59 instead.
When they did that they missed out on several players including Claypool, who ended up getting snagged by Pittsburgh.
Gang Green got Denzel Mims and we all know how that has worked out thus far, not very well.
This could be a chance to correct the timeline and get a super talented player that would bring size and star power to the Jets’ receiving corps.
Back during the lead-up to the 2020 draft, Claypool saw his star rise when he blew up at the NFL combine.
Those metrics were compared to another athletic freak, Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson.
While Claypool has some warts, he still has a lot going for him.
The former Notre Dame product is only 23 years of age (will be 24 by the start of the 2022 season). He also still has two more years left on his rookie contract for just under $4 million in total value.
On top of that, he has put out proven production during his two years in the big leagues:
- 121 receptions
- 1,733 yards
- 11 touchdowns
When you’re talented, you have a longer leash in sports, that is just the nature of the beast.
This is exactly the kind of deal that Douglas would explore. A young talented player with a lot of upside that has fallen on some hard times but is still more than salvageable.
If you can buy low on a potential No. 1 wide receiver, you have to explore it. This would be a worthwhile trade for the green and white in 2022.