Jets, Bucs Proposed Trade Delivers C.J. Mosley Successor in Draft

C.J. Mosley, Ronald Jones

Getty New York Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley squares up a tackle against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 2, 2022.

Yesterday, we wrote about a New York Jets trade scenario that was suggested in a four-round mock draft by NFL draft analyst Chad Reuter.

The proposed deal sent the Seattle Seahawks the No. 4 overall pick along with a fourth-rounder, in return for the No. 9 pick, a 2023 first, and a 2022 fifth. Reuter followed up that deal by trading down again from No. 10, with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In the end, the Jets ended up with two lower first-round picks, as well as an extra third and two extra fifths — plus the additional 2023 first. They only sacrificed one fourth-rounder in the process, giving general manager Joe Douglas a bounty of draft capital to work with.

This set up another intriguing possibility from Reuter: a third first-round trade.

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Jets Land Dean as Third First-Round Pick

After moving down twice in round one, the analyst decided that the Jets would trade up for a change, and the proposed deal turned into the franchise’s third first-round selection of 2022.

  • Jets receive: No. 27 pick.
  • Bucs receive: Nos. 35, 117, and an undisclosed 2022 fifth.

According to the NFL draft value chart, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would sacrifice 680 points in this scenario, while New York would spend somewhere from 634.6-641.4 points (depending on which fifth they trade) to jump up eight spots in the order.

He explained:

The Jets’ extra draft capital allows them to move back into the first round to find their defensive leader in [Nakobe] Dean. New York gives up second-, fourth- and fifth-round picks in this trade, which the Buccaneers happily accept knowing they can get similar cornerback or edge rusher value with the 35th overall selection.

In this example, Douglas fills a potential future void, selecting C.J. Mosley’s eventual successor at linebacker. Remember, it’s very likely that Gang Green moves on from the veteran team leader in 2023, based on his contract.

The Jets can save $15.5 million by cutting Mosley next offseason, and that number rises to $17 million if Douglas waits until after June 1. It’s nothing personal, but this feels like a near-guarantee considering the linebacker was originally signed by ex-GM Mike Maccagnan.

The Georgia star would offer an “explosive, three-down” successor that’s only 21 years of age. A natural-born leader with the Bulldogs, Dean would make for the perfect Mosley replacement in more ways than one — but would he be available?

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Another Intriguing Option to Consider

Target availability is the big question in determining whether or not Douglas will look to trade back into round one, but the surplus of draft capital gives the Jets options.

Maybe Dean doesn’t fall to 27 — the linebacker has been mocked in the top 10 so it’s certainly possible he doesn’t — but another potential NYJ target does. Douglas may still look to be aggressive and we could see this happen with an edge rusher or a wide receiver, assuming the Jets don’t draft those two positions earlier in the first round.

Prospects like George Karlaftis, Arnold Ebiketie, Boye Mafe, Chris Olave and Treylon Burks could theoretically be available in this Bucs range, among many others.

Another hole that management needs to plug is at defensive tackle, and several big-name DTs could fall to the back end of the first. Jordan Davis, Devonte Wyatt, Perrion Winfrey, Logan Hall and Travis Jones are the major prospects at the top of the interior defensive line class this year.

Reuter’s mock draft is as wild as they come, with three trades before the end of the first night, but the takeaway should be that Douglas has plenty of alternatives to work with. Franchises like the Bucs, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions all profile as candidates that could trade out of the first round, which means one of those early second-rounders could easily turn into another first.

Douglas has stressed that he will be aggressive in 2022 if the opportunity presents itself, so I wouldn’t touch that dial after the commissioner announces the Jets’ first two picks.

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