Well, folks, the king of trades has done it again.
New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas has officially fleeced another NFL franchise and before we get to his latest victim, a quick look back at some of his recent winners.
- Seattle Seahawks: Jamal Adams turned into Alijah Vera-Tucker and a probable top-10 draft pick. Oh, and the Seahawks did nothing with their two-year window, forcing them to shell out big bucks to keep Adams. Major fleece.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Cap-relief aside, the Jets flipped a practice squad-level special teamer in Dan Brown for a starting right guard in Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. They also ended up with Brown after the Chiefs cut him a couple of weeks later. Major fleece.
- Carolina Panthers: Sam Darnold looked like a starter for a few weeks before imploding in Carolina. His future is now unclear but the Jets have an extra 2022 second and fourth, plus a sixth last year that was involved in a pick swap — eventually turned into defensive tackle Jonathan Marshall. Major fleece.
- Las Vegas Raiders: Douglas traded back a fourth in 2021 for a fifth and a sixth. The Raiders selected safety Tyree Gillespie while the Jets ended up with CB-turned-safety Jason Pinnock and starting cornerback Brandin Echols. Gillespie has proven no better than Pinnock in year one. Solid fleece.
- San Francisco 49ers/Houston Texans: Backup edge rusher Jordan Willis turned into a sixth-round pick that was later flipped to the Texans for a starter at the same position in Shaq Lawson. Solid fleece.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Avery Williamson — who has no longer been an impact linebacker since leaving New York — for a 2022 fifth-rounder. Great value for a rental player that dropped off significantly upon his departure. Solid fleece.
- Baltimore Ravens: A seventh-round pick for Alex Lewis, who started a full season at left guard before retiring. Minor fleece.
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Add Another Name to the List
Eight of the 31 other NFL franchises are already immortalized above but you may notice that one recent fleecing is missing — and it was a great one.
Just before the roster cutdown deadline in 2021, Douglas flipped tight end Chris Herndon to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2022 fourth-round pick. The Jets also sacrificed a 2022 sixth in the deal. So basically, Gang Green moved up two rounds for a player that some fans believed they might cut.
Herndon probably would have stuck around on the roster in hindsight, but he wouldn’t have started over Tyler Kroft or Ryan Griffin and who knows if he would have ever had any sort of impact in the final year of his rookie deal.
Instead, the fallen star was sent to the Vikes with a chance at a starting role after a season-ending injury to Irv Smith Jr. Herndon did not capitalize on that opportunity, however.
On January 4, Jets insider Connor Hughes tweeted out an update from the Herndon trade.
He wrote: “The Vikings traded the Jets a fourth-rounder for Chris Herndon before the season. This year, Herndon has [four] catches for 40 yards and a [touchdown]. He’s played 16 games with five starts. Kenny Yeboah has three catches for 36 yards this season. He has played [eight] games with [zero] starts.”
The undrafted rookie, Yeboah, had not really been called on until Week 17 when Mike LaFleur was left with no options, but he performed well. He finished with two first-down receptions for all 36 of those yards, which is only four less than Herndon who had a full season in Minnesota.
Yeboah has also earned a place in Brant Boyer’s special teams unit on punt block and coverage. The rookie has only totaled one tackle so far but he did block his first punt in 2021.
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Wait, There’s More!
You might be wondering, what does Yeboah have to do with this trade and the answer is nothing. That’s the best part, Douglas’ reward for Herndon — the 2022 fourth-rounder — has yet to be determined.
It can be used to trade up, help a position of need, or even trade back for more late-round selections.
The reason Hughes highlights Yeboah is simple, he plays the same role as Herndon. These two aren’t just tight ends, they’re space/move TEs that prefer to line up outside.
Kroft and Griffin, for example, are in-line TEs and that’s the real beauty of this deal. LaFleur wants his starting tight end to be an in-line guy that can block. After a full season of watching the offensive coordinator pass up Yeboah for Griffin and Trevon Wesco with Kroft sidelined, that much is clear.
That means Herndon likely never had a place in this offense to begin with, as we anticipated from the start.
This was always a win-win for Douglas and with Herndon hitting free agency in March, the Vikings just became the ninth name on the trade wizard’s list.