The New York Jets pulled off the biggest trade of the NFL offseason when it acquired veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers.
However, if they want to fight for the No. 1 seed in the AFC they’ll need to execute one more “shocking trade,” according to Joe Tansey of Bleacher Report. One move that could put them over the top, he wrote, is making a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for wide receiver Mike Evans.
“Tampa Bay’s No. 1 wide receiver could be in for a miserable year as the franchise adjusts to life after Tom Brady,” Tansey wrote in an article posted on Wednesday, May 24. “The Jets could try to take advantage of that by offering some draft compensation to the Bucs in exchange for one season of Evans.”
How a Potential Jets-Bucs Trade Could Work for Mike Evans
Evans, who will turn 30 in August, is entering the last year of an $82.5 million contract and is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2024. Tansey suggested that New York and Tampa Bay “could split parts” of his $13 million base salary to make the deal “more palatable from the Jets’ perspective.”
In his nine seasons in the NFL, he has caught 683 receptions for 10,425 receiving yards and has hauled in 81 touchdowns. Evans has registered at least 1,000 receiving yards in every year of his career.
Tampa Bay’s over/under win total for next season is set at 6.5 wins, per Vegas Insider. Only one NFL team has a lower projected over/under win total and that’s the Arizona Cardinals at 4.5 wins.
With the Buccaneers projected to be among the worst teams in football, it seems possible they’d be open to dealing away a rental player in what could turn out to be a lost season.
However, Luke Easterling of USA Today’s BucsWire wrote in February that Evans will stay a Buccaneer in 2023 and “probably forever.”
“Trading him won’t help the Bucs enough now, and it would hurt them in far too many ways to make any positive return worth it,” he wrote. “So, sorry to burst the bubble, but it’s just not happening.”
A Criticism of the Jets’ Roster Heading Into 2023 Season
Tansey wrote that the “lack of a second star wide receiver could be one of the Jets’ downfalls in trying to maximize the next year or two with Rodgers.”
He isn’t the only one with that opinion.
Appearing on ESPN’s “First Take” on May 24, former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky asked his costars to find the flaw in the Jets roster.
Stephen A. Smith responded by saying that he wasn’t as high on the Jets because he wasn’t sold on “Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb” as difference makers.
In his column for Bleacher Report, Tansey agreed, saying they aren’t “top-tier wide receivers.”
But how important are they as peripheral options? Lazard is going to be the second or third receiver on the Jets behind Garrett Wilson and Corey Davis. Cobb is probably the fifth or sixth wideout on the team.
If lack of star power at wide receiver is truly one of your biggest weaknesses on an NFL team, then you’re probably doing very well.