Happy Memorial Day Weekend everybody!
I hope everyone is enjoying the barbeque and time with their loved ones, but make sure you remember what this day is all about. Memorial Day is about honoring and mourning members of our armed forces who died while serving.
In between the food and good times being had, it’s time to enjoy some fresh New York Jets content. Our pair of experts Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller dish on the latest news, nuggets, and rumors.
Could a Future Jets Trade Request Be Coming?
1. Is there any player on the New York Jets roster that you could envision requesting a trade mid-season if things went south?
Is Aaron Rodgers frowned upon as a joke of an answer here? Honestly, if things went disastrously wrong in New York, the future Hall of Famer would probably retire and his contract most likely makes him untradeable — at least, as of now.
A better response might be Mekhi Becton, and this could actually happen even if the team does well.
Let’s say head coach Robert Saleh chooses to start Duane Brown at left tackle, and Becton refuses to play right tackle again at the risk of another injury, the former first-round selection could be riding the bench in theory. At that point, and in the final year of his rookie contract, he could absolutely request a trade and if the Jets feel comfortable at offensive tackle, they might even honor it.
No Obermuller, a Rodgers trade joke is absolutely not funny.
However, you hit the nail on the head regarding the Becton situation. This thing is incredibly volatile with a coaching staff and a player on opposing sides of the fence.
Becton has zero intention or desire to play right tackle. Saleh has said several times this offseason that they will play the best five offensive linemen which very well could include Becton on the right side.
Those opposing viewpoints could lead to some bad blood which is normally a required ingredient in any trade request.
The Jets went through hell in 2022 from an injury perspective on the offensive line so I’m not sure they’d be in any hurry to trade away hog mollies. Especially in a season in which protecting veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers is priority No. 1.
2. Which struggling player on the Jets roster could benefit from a position change?
This is a tough one. I’m not sure any player specifically comes to mind off the top of my head. Maybe Jeremy Ruckert to fullback, but are we really willing to give up on the youngster as a tight end so soon?
Becton back to left tackle could be another — at least, according to him.
I’m not sure this qualifies but in the end, I’ll say Corey Davis. It’s not a position change, but shifting his role to the WR3 behind Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard could help take the pressure off the big-money wideout in 2023. That, plus Nathaniel Hackett’s new system and Rodgers, will hopefully breathe some new life into Davis in year three.
I’m not sure struggling is the right word but I’d move Chris Streveler into a wildcat kind of role. When he was thrust into the Week 16 matchup versus the Jacksonville Jaguars last season he had some issues with throwing the ball consistently.
However what he lacks in accuracy he more than makes up for with his rugged physical running style. If he could serve as a wildcat option in special packages in the red zone, that could provide an interesting wrinkle offensively.
I’m also a big fan of moving Ruckert to a more versatile role so the Jets can get him on the football field.
3. DeAndre Hopkins was surprisingly released by the Arizona Cardinals ahead of the Memorial Day Weekend. Should the Jets explore this?
Here’s what I’ve told fans when it comes to Hopkins. Would I spend $20 million on him in 2023? No. Having said that, I do believe the Jets should kick the tires on the former three-time All-Pro, and here’s why.
If you choose to sign D-Hop, it would be a direct one-for-one swap with the aforementioned Davis. The Jets can still save $10.5 million in cap space by releasing Davis, which gives them a lot more cap flexibility than some of the top AFC rivals like the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills — two teams Hopkins has been connected to heavily over the offseason.
If you’re really trying to win a Super Bowl in 2023, not place second or third in the AFC, you have to at least consider this move. Bring Hopkins in for a workout, determine if he’s still got it, and if he’d be an upgrade on Davis. Then, if you decide to pursue him, make the call before one of your top rivals does.
I made the case recently in video form (link here) that the Jets should try to sign Hopkins for two primary reasons.
You chased Odell Beckham Jr in free agency earlier this offseason. Why? Because you thought you could upgrade at wide receiver. If you thought OBJ would be an upgrade to the WR corps, then you’d have to think Hopkins would be as well.
If you don’t chase Hopkins, one of your top competitors in the AFC will and then you’ll be facing off against him. Gang Green needs to get off the canvas and make a legitimate push to try and bring him in.
Hype and Surprise for the Jets in 2023
4. If you were forced to predict a Jets player that won’t live up to the hype in 2023, who would it be and why?
Williams realized his true potential for the first time since being drafted in the first round, and he did it heading into an offseason where he knew extension talks were on the table. Gardner had one of the most ridiculous rookie campaigns I’ve ever seen.
The question said the word “forced,” and that’s why I’m replying as such. Both will be hard-pressed to replicate their 2022 performance — and this Jets defense might need them to.
It’s funny I actually think the opposite that both Quinnen and Sauce are going to be even better in 2023 but to each their own.
Breece Hall is the one that I’ll pick and I hope I’m wrong. He tore his ACL and history says very few players can bounce back that quickly to make a massive impact.
Also, I have a unique connection to this because I just completely tore my ACL and ruptured it. I’m going through the rehab process and it’s grueling, taxing, and challenging. Obviously, Hall is a super athlete and I’m some random at home, but I think this is going to take some time to come back from for both of us.
I implore the Jets to take their time with this young man so he can come back at full strength.
5. Who will end up being the best Jets surprise of 2023 and why?
To me, when reading this question I think of someone like rookie DL Micheal Clemons in 2022. I was baffled by the Clemons selection in the draft and ended up loving the prospect once I was able to see him in action.
Going off that line of thinking, Jamien Sherwood could surprise some people. After a rookie season thrust into the spotlight at times due to injury, the safety-turned-linebacker looked totally unprepared.
Then, during the 2022 preseason period, Sherwood felt like a totally different player manning the second-team MIKE-backer position with a confidence that I wasn’t quite sure he had. With Kwon Alexander’s return in question, Sherwood could be called upon to shift to SAM (strongside linebacker) and play the LB3 role in this 4-2-5 defense that sometimes utilizes the natural 4-3-4 look.
Saleh has been grooming Sherwood for the job — like Ruckert at tight end in 2024 — and I think the youngster is ready for it.
I’ve got a temperature from Jets fans and they have labeled Laken Tomlinson a lost cause after a rough 2022 season.
However, I expect a surprise bounce back in 2023.
Quite frankly it’ll be hard for Tomlinson to be worse than he was last year, but his history in the league says last year was an outlier as opposed to a sign of things to come.
I’m buying all of the Tomlinson stock that is available this offseason because he’s going to be a key cog in the Jets’ turnaround.